Photo by Tristan Tamayo / INQUIRER.net
From a team that was faced with uncertainties in the squad, TNT suddenly found a firm favorite for the PBA Philippine Cup crown.
The KaTropa closed two important stores late Monday and suddenly had the opportunity to use a Gilas Pilipinas starter.
TNT is awaiting confirmation from the Commissioner's Office to acquire Poy Erram through a three-team swap with NLEX and Blackwater, despite the announcement that Ray Parks Jr. has finally signed a one-year contract.
"[These] will definitely be of great help to TNT," TNT coach Bong Ravena told investigators Tuesday.
If the commissioner's office approves the Erram deal, TNT can set up a unit that includes the former NLEX launch center, Troy Rosario, Parks, RR Pogoy and Jayson Castro – all regulars of the national team.
In order to land Erram, one of the best defensive players in the league, who has made it a habit to throw shots from outside the bow, TNT sent Marion Magat to Blackwater and a draft pick for the first round for another choice the first round. The Elite distributed two future picks in a package that included sending Anthony Semerad to the Road Warriors.
Blackwater will receive security guard Ed Daquioag and a first choice for his role as a conduit in the sister team swap.
While the proposal has not yet been given the green light for the PBA, NLEX made an official statement Monday night saying "Poy's contributions to our team's growth in 2019 will be recognized."
While TNT may have made a coup with the deal, Ravena wants to maintain moderate optimism as KaTropa prepare to take on the coat of favorites in the Filipino Cup.
"Our attitude should remain that there is no weak team [in the league]," he said. "The task is to get as many victories as possible in the eliminations."
"And then we move on to the next one."
Erram's return to the team that designed him in 2013 gives the Powerhouse team a legitimate tall man who can control the boards and provide legitimate rim protection – the importance of which suddenly increased in a conference where two other preferred teams have lost important sizes
Defending champion San Miguel Beer, who is aiming for a sixth conquest of all Filipinos in a row, has to do without June Mar Fajardo, who is likely to miss a major part of the season due to a broken shin.
Youngest Governor's Cup champion Barangay Ginebra has meanwhile said that he wants to shoot the Filipino Cup crown, but has his own problems with the great man Greg Slaughter, who decided to take a breather from basketball instead of extending it to sign the Gin Kings. INQ
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