TROPANG TNT management is confident that Jason Maxiell won’t be as temperamental as Ivan Johnson, banking on the longtime NBA veteran to make a major difference for the team in the PBA Governors’ Cup next month.
Johnson led the Texters to last year’s Commissioner’s Cup title, but a series of commotions led to a lifetime ban that was later reduced to a one-season suspension by the pro league.
Maxiell, who hardly got into fights in his NBA career, got into a major one early this year when he threw a punch and chased a Chinese player the length of the court after the latter hit him at the back of the head with an elbow in one play in the Chinese pro league last January.
The incoming Texters import was pacified in time by fellow NBA veteran turned Chinese league import Michael Beasley.
TNT officials do not see a repeat of that incident in the PBA.
“As soon as he got down from the airplane and he went to his first practice, we forewarned him that hopefully that doesn’t come in the way,” Texters manager Virgil Villavicencio told SPIN.ph after practice on Thursday. “And he said, ‘No, I was primarily, totally provoked.’”
“I said they may do the same to you here, but (he told me), ‘I’ve learned my lesson,’” the affable TNT official added, “It was just a one-time thing.”
Watch the YouTube video of the CBA scrap:
For his part, Maxiell vowed to keep his temper in check and be professional as he hopes to provide his rebounding and hustle to a Texters side that has been underperforming as of late.
“It’s like anywhere else I go, I’ll be professional,” the former Detroit Pistons mainstay said. “I’ll just come in and do my job.”
Villavicencio said Maxiell won’t back down from the local opponents’ physical plays – to some extent.
“Ang attitude niya, (he said) ‘if they play physical, then I’m willing to get into it, but not dirty,’” Villavicencio said.
After practicing with the 10-year NBA veteran for two days, local wingman Dylan Ababou is confident that Maxiell is more in control of his temper than Johnson ever was.
“Feeling ko mas composed siya kay Ivan,” Ababou said. “Si Ivan kasi mas hot-tempered.”