TnT coach Uichico says Gilas always the priority: 'Pilipinas 'yun kaya sacrifice tayo'
Jong Uichico and Talk 'N Text are off to a bumpy start to the season. Dante Peralta

JONG Uichico is not complaining, but somehow admitted  the Gilas Pilipinas stint of four key Talk ‘N Text players has something to do with the struggles the Tropang Texters are undergoing in the Smartbro-PBA Philippine Cup.

For the second straight game, the proud franchise was just a shadow of its formidable self after being stretched to the limit by Mahindra before eking out a scrambling 101-97 win.

It was the first victory for the season by the Tropang Texters after kicking off their campaign on the wrong foot following a 114-98 blowout at the hands of Alaska Aces.

Uichico is aware the team is kind of struggling at the moment, saying the Texters ‘are not where they want to be.

But he groped for words when asked if playing for Gilas the past three months, including seeing action in the Fiba Asia Championship, is now reflecting on the way the team has been playing early into the season-opening tournament.

“Siyempre may absence also… kulang siyempre if you’re with your team only for a period of time ,” said Uichico, who also serves as the top deputy of coach Tab Baldwin with Gilas.

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Another Talk ‘N Text deputy in Josh Reyes was also in the coaching staff of the national team along with players Jason Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, and Troy Rosario.

But Uichico made it clear that flag and country will always be the priority.

“Siyempre Gilas yun. Pilipinas 'yun, kaya sacrifice tayo,” he said. “I made a choice. Talk ‘N Text or Gilas? I sacrificed for Gilas.”

Following Gilas’ return from Fiba Asia, Talk ‘N Text only had a few couple of practices as a complete unit.

Worse, De Ocampo suffered a herniated disc injury just two days after the team’s debut game against the Aces that left him out of action for the next two months.

Uichico expects it will take time before the Tropang Texters will get their groove back.

“We’ve struggled a little bit and it will take us sometime to really get into the groove,” he said.

“Buti na our games are long in between,” he pointed out as the team will have a long 10-day break before plunging back into action on November 11 against sister team Meralco.

“So that will gives us some time to work on things,” added Uichico.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos