REDEMPTION begins on Wednesday for Talk `N Text when it opens its campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opposite Rain or Shine at the Astrodome.
The Tropang Texters will see action for the first time since being swept by eventual Philippine Cup champion San Miguel during their best-of-seven semifinals duel.
Back for a second tour of duty with the team is import Richard Howell, who helped Talk `N Text to a remarkable 13-0 start during this same conference last season only to sputter in the end when it bowed to San Mig Coffee in the finals.
The 6-foot-6 Howell averaged impressive numbers of 19.5 points and 18.6 rebounds during his stint with the Tropang Texters.
The former North Carolina State product will be up against Rain or Shine import Rick Jackson, a former Syracuse standout who has a reputation as a solid rebounder.
But more than the import match up, Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico expects his team to play harder and defend relentlessly this conference in a bid to erase the stigma of its All-Filipino Cup debacle.
“I’d like them (Tropang Texters) to play harder and smarter, like, they play every possession, every rebound because (in the Philippine Cup), they have the tendency to ball watch,” said Uichico, whose team collides with the Elasto Painters at 7 p.m.
This developed as Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao admitted the next few games of the team will be a test for the 6-foot-8 Jackson, who arrived here early last week.
Jackson is a last-minute replacement after the team’s plan to bring back last season’s import Wayne Chism fell through.
Although Guiao had been informed Chism already got his release papers from his Israeli team, the Elasto Painters will stick it out with Jackson for the moment.
“He (Jackson) has a few games to prove himself. If we’re winning, it’s a good problem. But if di kami nananalo, we have no choice but to bring in Wayne,” said Guiao.
“Every game naman, you have to evaluate and assess, ganun naman ang lahat.”
Chism led Rain or Shine to a semifinal finish last season, where the Elasto Painters eventually bowed to the Tropang Texters, 3-1.
Jackson is coming off stints with Galil Gilboa in Israel and the Krasny Oktyabr in the Russian league, before joining Rain or Shine.