RONDAE Hollis-Jefferson was officially named import of TNT for the PBA Governors Cup and could make his debut for the team against Blackwater on Wednesday.
That is, if everything goes according to plan.
The Tropang Giga already advised the league about their import change in time for the 12 noon Tuesday deadline, or at least 24 hours before the 3 p.m. tip off at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But as of posting time, the former NBA first-round draft pick has yet to obtain his LOC (Letter of Clearance) from his Korean ballclub Jeonju KCC Egis for him to be able to suit up for the team.
It didn’t help that the 28-year-old former Arizona Wildcats star and KCC Egis parted ways on a sour note.
Reports coming from the Korean Basketball League (KBL) claimed Hollis-Jefferson was cut from the team by KCC Egis head coach Chun Chang Jin allegedly after two straight bad games by the import
“He showed an insincere attitude for two consecutive games. So I sent him home,” Chun was quoted by Korean media as saying about Hollis-Jefferson's departure.
KCC currently has a 17-22 record for seventh spot in the 10-team standings.
After activating Hollis-Jefferson, TNT could no longer field original choice Jalen Hudson in case his replacement failed to get his LOC in time for the game since Hudson had already been relegated to the injured/reserved list.
In such scenario, the Tropang Giga will be forced to play with an all-Filipino roster against the skidding Bossing.
Certainly, a lot is expected from the former Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, and Portland Blazers player as he comes on board a team that has gone 5-1 with Hudson as its import for a share of the lead with Converge and San Miguel.
Coach Jojo Lastimosa admitted Hudson was naturally kind of disappointed with management’s move, especially with the Tropang Giga’s lone loss against NLEX, 110-108, was a game they dominated for three quarters before the Road Warriors came from behind to steal the win in the end.
“He’s been disappointed of course,” said the TNT coach of Hudson. “But he’s been a real pro about it.”
Lastimosa is aware taking in a new import with everything going well for the team could backfire in TNT’s campaign.
“We are not replacing him with a lesser player, but we are aware this could backfire on us. Why even break something good,” he said.
“We are just thinking of good balance in the team.”