TNT Katropa again bears the brunt of having to lend players for national interest.
The team will miss Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and rookie Roger Pogoy in its PBA Commissioner’s Cup encounter once Gilas Pilipinas goes full throttle in its daily practice in preparation for the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship.
The three were named by coach Chot Reyes to his 12-man roster for the May 12-18 qualifier for this year’s FIBA Asia Cup.
As per the agreement between the PBA Board and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), players to be selected for the national team will have to be pulled out from their respective mother teams at least 15 days (for veterans) – and 30 days for rookies – prior to the competition.
TnT has the most number of players in Reyes’ so-called Seaba 12 with three, followed by Star with two in Allein Maliksi and rookie guard Jio Jalalon.
“Yes, that’s my understanding,” Texters coach Nash Racela told SPIN.ph when asked regarding the pullout. “They’ll be missing two to three games.”
That tough stretch unfortunately, will have TnT taking on some of the league’s powerhouse teams - first against unbeaten leader San Miguel Beer (5-0) on May 5 followed by Star on May 10.
The Texters face the Alaska Aces on the 20th, by which time the Seaba will be over, although Racela doubts if the three would be ready to play by then.
“Available na dapat sila, but they’ll only have a practice before the game,” he lamented. “They might want to rest pa.”
TnT currently shares the fourth to fifth places with Star, both with similar 5-2 records, while Alaska is just a game behind at sixth place with a 4-2 card. The Texters are coming off a loss to Barangay Ginebra, 107-89, prior to the All-Star break.
It’s in situations like this that prompted TnT to pull the trigger on the trade which sent Matt Ganuelas-Rosser to San Miguel for playmaker RR Garcia.
“I hope it gives us someone who could step up when Jayson is with Gilas,” said Racel in explaining the rare trade involving corporate rivals San Miguel Corp, and the MVP Group.
Phoenix coach Ariel Vanguardia is in the same boat.
The Fuel Masters are losing just one player to the national team, but will definitely feel its impact as they will be without leading scorer Matthew Wright.
And unlike the Texters and Hotshots, the Fuel Masters are actually in the lower half of the standings with a 3-4 record. They play second-running Meralco when the tournament resumes on Wednesday, and then battles Globalport two days after.
Vanguardia said he’s not really sure if the agreement on players’ pullout would be implemented. If ever, he admitted the absence of Wright, voted back-to-back MVPs during the first two legs of the All-Star week, would greatly affect the bid of the team for a playoffs berth.
“Malaking sacrifice yun for Phoenix, kasi crucial games ang mga yun sa amin,” he stressed.