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    Black gives key TNT players well-deserved rest as help expected to come along  

    Jul 20, 2013
    Coach Norman Black is looking at a couple of free agents as he gives Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Jason Castro, and Ranidel De Ocampo a well-deserved rest after their stint with Gilas-Pilipinas. Jerome Ascano

    TALK ‘N Text coach Norman Black intends to give four key players enough time to rest in the season-ending PBA Governors Cup once they are done playing for the Gilas-Pilipinas team.

    The four -- Larry Fonacier, Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, and Ranidel de Ocampo -- have been practicing with the national squad since being named to the original 18-man pool as early as February, and had just returned with the rest of the Gilas team on Saturday midnight after a 10-day trip in New Zealand.

    “Definitely, they need it (rest). They’ll get a long rest, but we’ll have to pick up a few guys for the time being,” Black told Spin.ph, who used the tune-up game against Barako Bull on Friday as try out for some free agents hoping to hook up with the team in the third conference.

    Among those who played for the Tropang Texters are former Barangay Ginebra guard Jimbo Aquino, Saigon Heat star Jai Reyes, and former Petron reserve big man Brian Faundo.

    “We’re missing four key players and we’re also missing our import, who’ll only be in on the 25th (of July) so we’re just trying to go with our scrimmage games and see where we are at and at the same time, see if we could pick up a couple of guys for the next conference,” added Black, who also serves as one of the assistants of coach Chot Reyes in the national team.

    Black said the team is bringing back the high-scoring Tony Mitchell as the Tropang Texters’ import in the final tournament of the season.

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    The 6-foot-5 Mitchell averaged 38.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in more than 38 minutes of play during his three-game stint with the Tropang Texters in the Commissioner’s Cup semifinals as a late replacement for 7-foot center Jerome Jordan.

    Mitchell went undrafted during the NBA 2012 Draft, but the high-leaper out of Alabama, who boasts a 40-inch leap, made a strong impression several months ago after winning the NBA D-League 2012-13 Rookie of the Year award.

    The 23-year-old Mitchell averaged 21.9 points in his first D-League season while playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

    “He’s (Mitchell) committed on the 25th so I think the Summer League finishes by Saturday because they are at the lower bracket,” said Black.

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    Coach Norman Black is looking at a couple of free agents as he gives Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Jason Castro, and Ranidel De Ocampo a well-deserved rest after their stint with Gilas-Pilipinas. Jerome Ascano
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