IVAN Johnson may be a risk for most teams because of his hot temper, but it's a risk Talk 'N Text is apparently willing to take.
Talk 'N Text said it has no plans to replace Johnson, who will miss the team's debut in the PBA Commissioner's Cup after getting suspended for one game for figuring in a brawl during a practice game with Blackwater last January 30.
The hulking Johnson was also slapped with a P50,000 fine, broken down to P20,000 for shoving JP Erram in the face, P20,000 for punching Frank Golla and P10,000 for refusing to be restrained during the fracas.
Still, TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio said there are no plans to bring in a new import to replace Johnson, who he said has been impressive in practice and is getting along well with his teammates.
"Ang ganda ng tinatakbo ng team with Ivan," said Villavicencio. "Makikita mong gusto ng team na kalaro si Johnson."
Johnson led Talk 'N Text to the Commissioner's Cup championship last season but also figured in a number of skirmishes, especially with Rain or Shine and coach Yeng Guiao, that constantly put his reliability under question.
At the very least, TNT sources said the coaching staff and management are inclined to bring in a standby import, just in case Johnson gets involved in another incident that could lead to a harsher penalty.
"Plan B lang," said the team insider.
A source told Spin.ph that though Johnson has been showing improvement in his anger management during practices, management still weighs the possibility of his temper erupting anew as the mid-season conference kicks off.
“Mabait si Ivan ngayon pero only time will tell kung kelan ulit siya totopakin,” said the insider. “Ang mahirap kasi kay Ivan hindi makontrol lalo na ngayon wala na si Jimmy (Alapag)," referring to the now Meralco guard.
"Si Jimmy kasi dati ang kumakausap at nagpe-pep talk sa kanya kaya nako control,” he added.
Getting involved in controversy is nothing new to Johnson. He was given a perpetual ban by the Korean Basketball League for giving the referees the middle finger during the finals between the Changwon LG Sakers and Jeonju KCC Egis in 2010.
A similar incident happened during his stint with the Atlanta Hawks where he was fined $25,000 by the NBA for taunting a Boston Celtics fan.