The presence of several former PBA imports led by NBA veteran Al Thornton and Vernon Macklin won’t guarantee Mighty Sports Apparels a championship when the Philippine club team opens its 38th William Jones Cup title bid on Saturday against host Taipei.
That’s because Mighty Sports is facing chemistry issue, according to assistant coach Charles Tiu, moments after the team’s practice on Monday afternoon at Ronac gym.
“Nakapag-practice na naman kami, but then, we are pressed for time because we were targeting 8 practices but we only had a total of 3 practice days pa lang,” Tiu told FOX Sports after practice.
“We tried to play tuneup games against Rain or Shine and TNT. Talo kami pareho because nung una, 3 imports pa lang naglaro sa amin nun,” he added.
Aside from Macklin and Thornton, who registered a PBA season-high 69 points for NLEX last April, other reinforcements for the team include former Barako Bull import Michael Singletary, Zach Graham (ex-Air21 import), Korean Basketball League mainstay Dewarick Spencer, ex-KIA/Mahindra import Hamadi N’Diaye and Turkish league veteran campaigner Troy Gillenwater.
Local players in the team include former PBA veterans Larry Rodriguez, Sunday Salvacion and Tyrone Tang, Rain or Shine reserve Jeric Teng, Westports Malaysia Dragons Fil-Am star Jason Brickman and former amateur standout Edrick Ferrer.
“The biggest challenge for us to get them to play together under one system, kasi yung mga imports naman namin lahat talented,” shared Tiu, who will be assisting head coach Bo Perasol.
“But they have to play together because remember, we’ll be going up against very strong teams, and I think some of them are national teams from Iran, South Korea, Taiwan, India and Egypt, plus there’s also another team from the US,” he added.
Tiu is no stranger to the annual tournament anymore, being an assistant to Serbian coach Rajko Toroman, who guided the original Smart-Gilas national team to 4th place and a runner-up finish in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Tiu said Mighty Sports is already bracing for a tough stretch early in the tournament as it clashes with 2011 Jones Cup champion South Korea next Monday, a select US team the following day, followed by Japan on Wednesday. – By Richard Dy
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