FOLLOWING a successful title-retention bid in the PBA Philippine Cup, Talk `N Text coach Norman Black believes his veteran roster of Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams, and Ranidel de Ocampo, together with import Keith Benson is ready for another championship run in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The Tropang Texters practiced together for the first time on Wednesday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo gym after being on a break for two weeks since winning a third straight All-Filipino crown with a four-game sweep of Rain or Shine in the Finals.
“We’ll have everyone back by Thursday. Our team is intact. And with what we have, we’ll do it because we’re still pretty solid,” Black told Spin.ph.
Parading the same local cast with the addition of Rabeh Al-Hussaini, who came in for wantaway center Japeth Aguilar, Black sees no problem blending with the locals the 6-foot-11 Benson whom he expects to provide added defensive spunk and rebounding to the team.
“He’s (Benson) a good rebounder and good shot blocker. There’s a lot of athleticism in him. He’ll be able to match up with other imports and he can give us some of the things we need this (second) conference,” explained the multi-titled mentor.
Selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round and 48th overall in the 2011 NBA draft, Benson arrived in the country more than a week ago and has been sweating it out with the Ateneo Blue Eagles at the Moro Lorenzo gym while the reigning Philippine Cup champion was on a break.
The 24-year-old Benson had a three-game stint on a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors last season.
But he had a more defined role while playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce, and later on the Erie Bayhawks in the NBA D-League, posting career-averages of 13.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 27.7 minutes of play.