TNT KaTropa to bring back Smith?

Manila Bulletin - - Sports News - By JONAS TERRADO W L

Games To­day (Smart Araneta Coli­seum) 4:30 p.m. – Black­wa­ter vs TNT KaTropa 7 p.m. – Mer­alco vs Mag­no­lia

TNT KaTropa was mum on re­ports that it is set to bring back Joshua Smith in time for to­day’s match against win­less Black­wa­ter in the PBA Com­mis­sioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coli­seum.

At­tempts by the Bul­letin to con­firm TNT’s de­ci­sion to hand Jeremy Tyler the pink slip to make room for Smith’s ar­rival proved fu­tile at press time, leav­ing a big ques­tion as to who the KaTropa will pa­rade in the 4:30 p.m. opener.

Smith, listed at 330 lbs, is re­mem­bered for help­ing TNT reach last sea­son’s Com­mis­sioner’s Cup fi­nals, los­ing in six games to the San Miguel Beer­men de­spite his im­pos­ing pres­ence. The 6-foot-10 Seat­tle na­tive is com­ing off a stint in Ja­pan where he led his Ky­oto team to the play­offs.

Agent Sh­eryl Reyes tweeted late Wed­nes­day that the KaTropa had re­placed Tyler, who strug­gled in Sun­day’s 110-100 loss to the Alaska Aces at the Ynares Cen­ter in An­tipolo City.

It was TNT’s first de­feat of the con­fer­ence af­ter start­ing the con­fer­ence with three straight wins.

Re­gard­less of the im­port sit­u­a­tion, the KaTropa seek to get their fourth win in five matches be­fore the All-Star break be­hind top lo­cals Jayson Cas­tro, Ter­rence Romeo, Roger Po­goy, Troy Rosario and Jericho Cruz.

Black­wa­ter is in dire need of its first win af­ter five straight losses to start the con­fer­ence prompted man­age­ment to re­place coach Leo Isaac Rain or Shine Mer­alco Alaska TNT KaTropa Mag­no­lia Glob­alPort Columbian Phoenix Gine­bra NLEX San Miguel Black­wa­ter with Bong Ramos.

Mean­while, Ver­non Mack­lin looks to go out in style when Mag­no­lia bat­tles Mer­alco in the other game at 7 p.m.

Mack­lin dons the Hot­shots jersey for the fi­nal time, fac­ing for­mer college ri­val Arinze Onu­aku and the Bolts, be­fore head­ing to China to play in the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League.

Mack­lin is com­ing off a 19-point and eight-re­bound evening two days ago when Mag­no­lia ripped Columbian, 126-101.

The Hot­shots are eye­ing their third straight win af­ter start­ing the con­fer­ence by ab­sorb­ing an 89-87 de­feat to the Phoenix Fuel Masters last May 6.

Like TNT, Mer­alco seeks its fourth win in five matches to claim a share of the lead with idle Rain or Shine. 4 3 3 3 2 3 3 2 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 2 3 2 2 4 2 5

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