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Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black explained his team’s decision to make a drastic change in the middle of its Commissioner’s Cup semifinals against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
The Tropang Texters hired Tony Mitchell, a 6-foot-5 NBA D-League standout who won Rookie of the Year honors this season, to replace 7-footer Jerome Jordan beginning Game Three of the semifinals series on Wednesday.
According to Black, the decision came about after the team lost key players Jared Dillinger, Jimmy Alapag, and Ryan Reyes to injuries, affecting the Tropang Texters’ firepower.
Dillinger has been ruled out of the season after figuring in a car accident. Reyes remains day-to-day because of a hamstring injury, missing the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas match during the PBA All-Star Weekend. Alapag suffered a calf injury while practicing with the national team, and will not play on Wednesday.
Mitchell’s entry would address the team’s needs right now, according to Black.
“He has been good in practice. He arrived five days ago. He’s an all-around player, who is very athletic. His strength would be his ability to score,” said the coach.
But in a conference that imposes no height limits on imports, Mitchell would be at a severe disadvantage against Ginebra counterpart Vernon Macklin, who stands 6-foot-10.
“That would be our No.1 concern,” said Black. “All of our big men will have to step up and we will have to have solid team defense and rebounding. On the other end, we will have to find out quickly how to use the offensive skills of Mitchell since he has a reputation of being an explosive scorer.”
The 23-year-old Mitchell averaged 21.7 points for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
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