TALK ‘N Text isn’t sticking with high-scoring import Tony Mitchell after all.
With two critical games left in its schedule, Norman Black said the Tropang Texters will make their late-conference push for the quarterfinals not with Mitchell but with North Carolina State alumnus Courtney Fells.
Fells, who Black describes as a “better defender” compared to Mitchell, arrived on Saturday morning to hopefully rescue a Texters team that lost its third straight game on Friday against Air21, 102-106.
“Courtney just arrived (Saturday morning). We didn’t announce our import change yet because we’re not sure at that time if he’ll come,” Black told Spin.ph on Saturday.
“At NC State, Courtney is an all-defensive player two years in a row so hopefully, he could help us.”
Fells played for the Boston Celtics in the recent Summer League, where he is listed at 6-6. The 27-year-old European League veteran averaged 7.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals for the Celtics.
Black said there’s no doubt that Mitchell can score because of his athleticism, outside shooting and his quickness. But the multi-titled PBA mentor was unhappy with his defense.
The Texters went 2-5 with Mitchell.
“Tony turns out to be a good scorer but a poor defender,” said Black. “And he gets double-teamed a lot that’s why if you look at his conference stats, he only has 10 assists in seven games. In other words, he doesn’t make his teammates look good.”
The Talk ‘N Text veteran coach said what made things worse was the fatigue that has caught up with four of his key players who played for Gilas Pilipinas last month in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships.
Ranidel de Ocampo, Jason Castro, Larry Fonacier and Jimmy Alapag all returned ahead of schedule even though they were all given a month off after their stint with Gilas.
“But there’s nothing much we can do at this moment. We’re quite tired,” lamented Black. “Last night was the game we needed to win against Air21. But we’re much happier with the effort. Though last night, we’re just a step slower."