MANILA, Philippines – The Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters are looking loaded, albeit not yet locked, entering the 41st season of the PBA this October.
One wise pick and a series of trades post-draft allowed last season’s Commissioner’s Cup champions to secure the top two rookies this year in big men Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario – to shore up a veteran core. Texters head coach Jong Uichico already foresees them affecting the team right away in the Philippine Cup which tips off on October 18.
“They’ll really have an impact on the game or on the team,” said the 9-time champion coach, adding they both could have been first overall pick. “They’ll have some type of impact right away.”
The Talk ’N Text mentor had a first look at how his newest young additions might help him chase a 10th title on Friday, September 11 as the Texters faced Gilas Pilipinas in the MVP Cup. Uichico, who is also an assistant coach with the nationals, coached his own team. (RELATED: Troy Rosario unfazed as youngest member of Gilas pool)
The 6-foot-7 Tautuaa showed his moves in the paint and his ability to finish strong for a 16-point, two-rebound performance despite a 93-77 defeat. While Sinag Pilipinas vet Rosario had 5 points in a quiet outing.
Both players have just returned from a successful William Jones Cup stint as part of the Philippine national men’s basketball team pool. Though neither made the final 12, there is much to be excited about in the coming months.
“Tautuaa is very skillful, strong body. He’s probably a rebounder, tries to give energy,” Uichico said of the 26-year old Tautuaa, who was an MVP in the PBA D-League. “Still young and very active so he has a big upside.”
“Excited ako na magiging ka-teammate ko na yung isa kong idol (Ranidel De Ocampo), excited ako na matuto sa kanya,” said the 6-foot-7 Rosario, 23, who was picked second overall by Mahindra before a 3-team trade landed him a spot on his dream team. “Sabi nga namin parang destiny e, kung sino pa yung one and two nagsama pa.” (READ: Rising Troy Rosario wants to model game after De Ocampo, Pingris)
(I’m excited I’m going to be teammates with my idol Ranidel De Ocampo, I’m excited to learn from him. I was told it was like desity that the first and second picks are on the same team.)
Amid much promise and talk of a dominant PBA season for the Texters, Uichico prefers to remain cautiously optimistic.
“Yes, in paper we look good but they’re new players, they have to be able to work with the system,” Uichico said, careful to note that Talk ’N Text will have barely two weeks to practice as a whole team together with himself and Gilas members Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.
“All my players are in Gilas so when [they] come back we’re starting back up.”
“Marami pa pwedeng i-improve pa sa laro namin. Yung expectation [ng mga tao] na yun parang challenge sa amin yun (There’s plenty we can improve with our game. That expectation people have for us will be our challenge),” added Rosario.
(READ: Ronnie Magsanoc: ‘Troy Rosario is going to be a legit PBA star’)
In the next month and a half, Tautuaa and Rosario will finally begin adjusting to pro basketball life, and fit themselves into the Texters’ system.
“We run similar and different stuff in Talk ’N Text and Gilas. They’re used to Gilas, there are similarities but there are differences also so that’s a different adjustment again,” explained Uichico. “That’s the difficult part. It’s not me adjusting, it’s them adjusting to their teammates in Talk ’N Text.” – Rappler.com
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