TALK 'N Text import Richard Howell said constant advice from Texters leader Jimmy Alapag helped him rise above the physicality and stand out in his PBA debut on Wednesday night.
Far from impressive when he played for the Texters in a Cebu pocket tournament more than a week ago, the wide-bodied Howell looked a completely different man in leading Talk 'N Text to an 85-72 win over Alaska in the two teams' PBA Commissioner's Cup bows.
The North Carolina State alumnus scored 15 points and grabbed 30 rebounds against the Aces, helping the Texters dominate the game while shaking off every bump and hard foul along the way.
“It’s a lot more physical here (PBA). They (referees) don’t call the foul as they would in the (United) States. But that’s part of the adjustment I have to make in my game,” Howell said after the game.
Howell thanked Alapag for helping him make the quick adjustment, saying the TnT team captain was constantly "in my ear" reminding him to keep his cool no matter what.
“I feel like when I get the ball, I get hit but there’s no foul. Though that’s something I need to get used to,” added the bull-strong Howell, whose previous career high in rebounds was 20.
“And they talk about it everyday because Jimmy is in my ear everyday. He tells me no matter what happens, I just have to keep going.”
Talk ‘N Text shoots for win No. 2 on Saturday against Air21 when they clash in the main game at the Cuneta Astrodome.