It’s time for Pringle to show real worth for Batang Pier
By JONAS TERRADO
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Blackwater vs Columbian
6:45 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs GlobalPort
Terrence Romeo hopes to start his stint with TNT KaTropa on a bright note at the expense of former team GlobalPort today to mark the opener of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Romeo is more concerned on giving the KaTropa a victory than use the 6:45 p.m. as an avenue to show the Batang Pier what they’re missing more than a month after being shipped to TNT in a move that hardly surprised basketball experts.
The reigning scoring champion is looking to be a good fit for coach Nash Racela and the rest of the KaTropa despite still having fitness issues in three of the four tune-up games he played.
“I need to be more smart, kumbaga maging mas matured ako,” Romeo said last month shortly after the trade that brought him and Yousef Taha to TNT for Mo Tautuaa and two future draft picks.
Racela, meanwhile, is in no rush to make Romeo a major part of the TNT roster that has Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, Jericho Cruz, Roger Pogoy and import Jeremy Tyler.
“I think the good thing is that his teammates are all helping him with his transition, especially si Jayson,” said Racela, who has the luxury of having a dynamic backcourt tandem in Castro and Romeo.
Like Romeo, Tautuaa is treating the contest as just another game.
“This is our job to play basketball, so that’s all I’m going to go out to do,” Tautuaa said. “Whether I drop 40 or 10, it doesn’t matter as long as our team gets the win. That’s just another to me now. I’m not looking at it as a revenge game. They’re not my business anymore.”
Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio sees Tautuaa as a major addition to the team that has Kelly Nabong, whose confidence has risen following a productive showing in the Philippine Cup, and returning import Malcolm White.
“Yung pagdating ni Mo napalaking bagay sa amin,” he said. “Kasi yung load kay Kelly, nawala masyado tapos si Malcolm, sakto sa amin, tapos sakto din si amin si Mo dahil import ang binabantayan niya.”
An intriguing scenario is the potential faceoff between Romeo and former teammate Stanley Pringle, who is expected to play a larger role after the trade.
The TNT-GlobalPort contest is expected to overshadow the 4:30 p.m. match between the Blackwater Elite and Columbian Dyip that will officially begin hostilities in the midseason conference.
The Elite, who nearly made the playoffs of the Philippine Cup, will have Jarrid Famous as import while the Dyip (formerly Kia Picanto) have debuting CJ Aiken to reinforce the squad that finished dead last the previous conference.