Star import Ricardo Ratliffe was impressive in his return as he lifted the Hotshots to their seventh win on Wednesday but TNT head coach Nash Racela believes his wards could’ve countered if only Donte Greene stayed out of foul trouble.
After scoring 25 points in the first half, Greene was all of a sudden a virtual non-factor as he couldn’t get his rhythm anymore when the Hotshots fought back down the stretch.
The first-year mentor was forced to bench Greene, who was into foul trouble midway in the game.
“It’s hard to compete when your import plays 27 minutes and their import plays 39, so that’s the ballgame for us,” rued Racela.
“It’s an import-laden conference and then they won’t them play, so mahirap. I think that’s the difference,” he lamented. “We were in control of the game in the second quarter and then they called the third foul on the import. He sat down, that’s why they were able to recover. In the third quarter, they called the fourth and fifth (foul). It’s hard. Then they don’t call the foul on Ratfliffe on Ryan, mahirap din.”
For Racela, it could’ve been a different storyline if only Greene was able to stay in the hardcourt just like Ratliffe, who finished with 37 points and 22 rebounds at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Crucial rin yung timing ng pag sit out ni Donte, because he sat down for a whole 12 minutes ata,” he said.
Racela admitted they couldn’t afford losing Greene in a huge chunk of the game as they continue to miss starters Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy, and Troy Rosario, who are all loaned to Gilas Pilipinas.
“It affected us today because that’s exactly the reason why we brought in Donte. But you sit him out, wala na yung purpose niya. That’s a nice gameplan… by them,” he said.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH