TNT coach Jojo Lastimosa is no longer dwelling on the continued absence of Mikey Williams, and would rather focus on what he has at his disposal with the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season opening less than two weeks away.
“I’ll answer that this way,” Lastimosa said when asked of a scenario where Williams suddenly returns for the Tropang Giga during the course of the Commissioner’s Cup. “I am going to roll with the players that I have.”
And while Lastimosa is not desperate having Williams back, NorthPort coach Bonnie Tan is awaiting conclusion of talks between management and Robert Bolick, who can boost the Batang Pier in the import-spiced tournament.
NorthPort’s version of a gunslinger, Bolick, who begged out of his contract in the Japan B.League, is already in talks for a return to NorthPort, with Tan saying that “anything can happen” between now and the Nov. 5 opening.
“Both camps are in talks so let’s wait and see,” said Tan, who bared that the Batang Pier knew of Bolick’s intention to get out of his Fukushima contract way before it was publicized. “We’ve been in talks since Sept. 9.”
Williams has yet to come back from the United States since his incredible performance in Game 6 of the Finals sealed TNT’s Governors’ Cup title win over crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra last April.
And with RR Pogoy also out with a heart condition and Poy Erram in the process of recovering from a knee procedure, the Tropang Giga may come into the season-opening conference with a huge obstacle to overcome, even if import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is there.
Those things being said, Lastimosa is not about to budge.
“It doesn’t matter if Mikey’s there or if he’s not there. I’m gonna roll with the guys that are here.”
One of the few things TNT can be positive about is Calvin Oftana, who could build on his impressive showing for Gilas Pilipinas during its historic run to the gold medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.
Oftana is seen having to do a bit of heavy lifting with his versatility and capability to fill the void left by Williams and Pogoy in terms of offense.
The talented forward has joined TNT’s buildup last week when he entered the training camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
TNT will be playing at Smart Araneta Coliseum, clashing with Magnolia with the likelihood that it won’t be having the hot-shooting Williams. INQ
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