DESPITE coming over with a reputation for having a volatile temper, Ivan Johnson's ‘bad boy’ image could work to Talk ‘N Text advantage, say Jayson Castro.
“Iyun talaga ang kailangan namin, kasi before, wala kaming bad boy. Pero this time, 'yung import namin gustong manalo. Before kasi, lahat kami parang pretty boy na naglalaro, at kapag pinisikal kami, walang gustong mag-retaliate,” said Castro of the team’s new import.
Castro, whose buzzer-beating jumper from afar lifted the Tropang Texters to a pulsating 98-96 win over a fighting NLEX side Friday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, admitted the team is well aware of Johnson’s background.
The 30-year-old import has been banned by the Korean Basketball League (KBL) in 2012 for giving a game official the middle finger during a championship game.
But Castro said Johnson himself has urged them to remind him about keeping his cool during games.
“Sabi niya (Johnson), you can always keep reminding me of my temper, so sinasabihan naman namin siya, saka si boss Jimmy (Alapag), ni-reremind din siya,” said the Talk ‘N Text combo guard.
Johnson, officially measured at 6-foot-7 and 1/2 at the PBA office, was impressive in his league debut, firing 32 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
Although the former Cal State San Bernardino stalwart only scored three points in the final period after going into foul trouble, veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo is convinced Johnson is just warming up.
“Tingin ko medyo pagod pa sa biyahe. May ibubuga pa iyan,” said de Ocampo, who added 13 points, spiked by three three-pointers.
“Makuha niya lang 'yung ginagawa namin sa loob, like yung paano kami maglaro sa team. Eh kasi, marami pa kaming di nagagawa na play saka defensive strategy,” he added.