ASIDE from harnessing camaraderie, the two-week training camp in Lithuania allowed TnT Katropa to get to know what it still lacking to contend again for a PBA championship and end a two-year title drought.
While the Texters ended up just winning one of the four games they played from Dec. 2 to 12, coach Nash Racela still consider their pre-season preparation as a success since they get to identify the flaws of the team.
“I'd say its successful because it exposed a lot of our weaknesses and things that we need to improve on,” said Racela, whose team arrived from the Baltic state early Wednesday night. “I hope we correct those things to be able to contend this season.”
TnT played the Lithuanian under-18 team, two second division Euroleague teams, and tradition Kazakhstan basketball power BC Astana.
As it is, the Texters only won over the young Lithuanian national squad.
“Siyempre, mga bata,” said head of delegation Virgil Villavicencio. “Pero malalaki, ang shortest yata nila was just 6-foot-1. And yung mga ‘bigs’ nila puro may tira sa labas.”
The rest of the games, TnT lost including a blowout at the hands of BC Astana, which was also in Lithuania for a similar pre-season training camp, but fielded in four imports.
“We played then a day after we arrived. It was their seventh game na (in Lithuania),” said Racela. “Tambak kami.”
The Texters are looking to win their first title in two seasons after last bagging the Commissioner’s Cup in 2015, though the team has been installed as one of the top three favorites for the season-opening Philippine Cup that kicks off this Sunday.
They wouldn’t start their campaign until next week when they battled Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Dec. 22 at the Astrodome.
Making up the TnT roster this season are Jayson Castro, Ryan Reyes, Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Kelly Williams, Mo Tautuaa, Harvey Carey, Anthony Semerad, Frank Golla, Alex Nuyles, Norbert Torres, Alfrancis Tamsi, and rookies Mark Tallo, Monbert Arong, and Sydney Onwubere.
Relegated in the reserve list is RR Garcia.