TNT Katropa coach Jong Uichico insisted he is satisfied with the performance of Mario Little despite the import’s sub-par numbers early in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Little, who the Texters were forced to tap after NBA veteran Jason Maxiell went over the height limit, has been producing numbers below what’s expected from reinforcements four games into the season-ending conference.
The TNT import registered 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, nine boards, one assist, one steal against five turnovers in 34 minutes in their 101-95 win over NLEX on Wednesday night.
Uichico also shut down speculations that they will use the All-Star break to find a replacement for Little.
“No,” the TNT coach said. “He might not give the numbers that we all expect, but he gives something else that the team does not have and which does not show in the stats, but we'll see.”
“He’s very good on defensive awareness. He can play the three and four,” he added of the American forward, who stands 6’4” 1/8. “Yes, he’s small and he’s not as strong as the other imports, but he makes the defensive system look better.”
Little anchored a TNT defense that forced Road Warriors counterpart Bill Walker to commit a turnover down the stretch that led to a crucial fastbreak layup by Ryan Reyes.
But Little also showed he can also deliver on the offensive end by knocking down the left-corner three-pointer that punctuated a 10-2 to finish the game.
“(He does) a little bit of everything,” Uichico said.