Richard Howell replaced as Talk 'N Text's import
MANILA, Philippines - Former PBA Best Import awardee Richard Howell has been replaced as the import of the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Rappler learned on Wednesday, February 18.
Howell will be relieved of his duty just five games into the conference, where he averaged 19.4 PPG and 15.4 RPG while helping lead the Tropang Texters to a 4-1 record, which is currently second best in the league standings.
The development was confirmed by Howell’s representation in the Philippines, basketball agent Sheryl Reyes.
“We were handed the pink slip yesterday (Tuesday, February 17),” Reyes said. “It wasn’t a surprise for us because since the start, [Talk ’N Text] Coach Jong Uichico wasn’t really keen on hiring Richard.”
“I was surprised how they fired him,” added Reyes. “Previously, if an import would be fired, previous Talk ’N Text team manager Aboy Castro would inform us ahead of the situation. However this time, it was only through text that I was told they would have a new import for the next game.
"We were the last to know."
Reyes also says that Barangay Ginebra showed interest in acquiring Howell prior to this season’s Commissioner’s Cup, but a partnership couldn’t develop because Talk ’N Text did not release the rights to Howell, who also played for the Tropang Texters in the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup.
Ginebra wound up signing Michael Dunigan.
“We were approached by Ginebra,” said Reyes. “However, his rights were not released since Talk ’N Text had no import choice at that time. They held on to his rights and then offered us a contract.”
There is still no report on which import TNT will bring in to replace Howell. Reyes says that since her client has been handed the pink slip, he is now free to play for any other PBA team next season.
Although he is disappointed by how things ended with Talk ’N Text, Howell isn’t down on what lies ahead.
“Richard has offers from other countries and to join the NBA D-League, so he is fine to leave,” according to Reyes.
The 24-year-old Georgia native is also optimistic that he can bounce back from this ordeal.
“It’s about the comeback, not the falling,” Howell said through Reyes. “I’m just glad I’m here, playing. I wasn’t supposed to make it this far. I’m eager for what’s next to come.”
“I ain’t tripping. That’s how I look at it. I’ve been through so much shit that this can’t hurt me,” he added.