RICHARD Howell's first day of practice with Talk 'N Text didn't go exactly as planned.
The NBA D-League veteran's first day on the court with his new teammates had to wait after the Tropang Texters' early afternoon practice at the Moro Lorenzo gym was cancelled due to a bomb threat at the Ateneo campus in Katipunan, Quezon City.
The Tropang Texters were supposed to welcome their import for the mid-season PBA Commissioner's Cup, who arrived in Manila late Tuesday night. But he had to be hurriedly sent home, along with the rest of the team, after the campus was evacuated due to the bomb threat.
Ateneo’s university president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin immediately disseminated through the campus’ official website http://www.admu.edu.ph an official announcement suspending classes and office work university-wide.
The cancellation deprived Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black the chance to assess his new import, but he said he hopes that Howell could bring to the team his impressive performance in the NBA Developmental League with the Idaho Stampede in the 2013-14 season.
Listed at 6-8 in the NBA D-League’s website, Howell, who played for North Carolina State in college, submitted solid numbers of 18.0 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 34.6 minutes of play for the Stampede recently.
“I haven’t seen him play but looking at his stats, he looks productive in the D-League, 18 points and 11 rebounds. Hopefully, he could be able to transfer that production here,” Black said just as the rest of the Tropang Texters started to evacuate the gym.
Black hopes they won’t encounter the same import woes they had in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup where they switched imports twice, before eventually losing to the Vernon Macklin-powered Barangay Ginebra in the semifinals.
“Hopefully, we won’t have to change him (Howell) because a lot of times, the team that wins the championship is the team that keeps the import. I hope he’ll be productive and be able to stay,” said Black.
The Tropang Texters began the Commissioner’s Cup last season with Keith Benson, who was replaced by old hand Donnel Harvey before the team went for seven-foot former NBA center Jerome Jordan. Eventually, the team settled for high-scoring 6-4 import Tony Mitchell.