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    Has PBA seen the last of Ivan Johnson? TNT coach not ruling out import's return

    Feb 20, 2016
    Coach Jong Uichico says Tropang TNT is open to the idea of bringing back Ivan Johnson once his season ban from the PBA expires. 

    DESPITE all the troubles Ivan Johnson has caused for Tropang TNT and the PBA in general, coach Jong Uichico is not totally closing the door on the possibility of the controversial import returning for another tour of duty.

    Although it’s still too early to decide on giving Johnson another stint with the Texters once his season-long suspension is over, Uichico admitted interest in getting the services of the temperamental import is always there.

    “It’s too early to say that, but of course, we’re still open,” said Uichico Friday night when the team played without an import in a 108-101 loss to Globalport Batang Pier in the Commissioner’s Cup.

    “Matagal pa naman yun, and there are a lot of factors to be considered. Mamaya mag change ng height, etc. So you can’t say that right away.”

    The former Atlanta Hawk left the country on Friday after his lifetime ban was downgraded to a season-long suspension and his fine lowered from P250,000 to P150,000 after he personally met with league commissioner Chito Narvasa to apologize for his actions in Tropang TNT’s game against Meralco last week.

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    Uichico said he is satisfied with the decision, which he said opens the possibility of Johnson playing in Asia’s first play-for-pay league in the future.

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    “Mabuti naman sa kanya yun, for his future once he comes back here or play somewhere else, para hindi rin naman masyadong psychological for his part,” said Uichico of the import who was his personal choice to replace Richard Howell in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup which the Texters won.

    Uichico however, doesn’t see the 31-year-old native of San Antonio, Texas changing his ways even after the season ban meted on him by the league.

    He added it is down to Johnson himself on how he controls his emotion inside the court.

    “It’s really up to him how he controls his emotion. He is such a competitive person,” he said of the import. “I think he knows naman his deficiency. Nasa kanya na yun. I can’t do anything about it. Hindi puwedeng turuan, personality niya yun, e.”

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    Taking the place of Johnson is 33-year-old veteran David Simon, who will be arriving on Monday in time for the team’s game against Alaska on Wednesday.

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    Coach Jong Uichico says Tropang TNT is open to the idea of bringing back Ivan Johnson once his season ban from the PBA expires. 
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