Racela on Greene foul trouble: 'It's an import-laden conference and they won't let him play'
TNT import Donte Greene was limited to 27 minutes by foul trouble. Jaime Campos

THE early foul trouble on Donte Greene obviously took its toll on TnT Katropa and led to its 107-97 loss to Star Wednesday night in the PBA Comissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Coach Nash Racela noted how momentum shifted the moment Greene was whistled for his third personal foul in the second period, forcing him to sit out the explosive import for most of the third quarter.

Greene already had 25 points at the break before he cooled down in the second half. He finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds but was held down to just 27 minutes of play.

“It’s hard to compete when your import only plays 27 minutes and their import plays 39. That’s the ballgame for me,” said Racela after the Texters absorbed a third loss in nine outings to fall to solo fifth place.

“It’s an import-laden conference and then they won’t let him play,” added the soft-spoken mentor. “That’s the difference. We were in control of the game in the second quarter and then the third foul on the import, so he sat down, and they were able to recover.”

[See Radliffe lives up to expectations as Star dominates TNT]

The Texters led by as many as 31-15 late in the first quarter, but trailed the Hotshots, 60-59, at the half.

Comebacking import Ricardo Ratliffe matched Greene point for point in the first half where he scored 25. He finished with a game-high 37 markers and had 22 rebounds.

Racela added the absence of Gilas stalwarts Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and rookie Roger Pogoy became a heavier burden after Greene got into foul trouble.

“It affected us today because that’s exactly the reason why we brought in Donte,” stressed Racela. “But if he’s sitting down, wala na yung purpose niya.”

Moving on, Racela said he hopes the next time, Greene would be more cautious about getting in foul trouble.

“Siguro ingatan na lang yung foul,” he said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos