TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa already has his hands full in trying to make a depleted TNT team be competitive that he can no longer handle the long and dragging contract talks with star guard Mikey Williams.
The concurrent team manager said that he already let former TNT head coach Chot Reyes handle the talks with the camp of Williams. However, the other camp, according to him, remains unresponsive.
“Mikey, no, nothing (communication). I’m going to tell you if there is a response from him,” said Lastimosa in the aftermath of the TNT’s 110-102 loss to Magnolia in the season opener on Sunday, Nov. 5.
“Sila Chot is dealing with the situation. Nagpalit muna kami ng role. I don’t want to be bothered anymore, sabi ko. I have too much on my plate,” added the one-time champion coach while also clarifying that he still holds the team manager position in the team.
“I’m still the team manager but I’m not complaining. I’ll just ride this out as long as I can and hope for Chot to come back refreshed,” he continued.
It has been a long back-and-forth negotiation between the two camps with no clear resolution to the standoff in the horizon.
In fact, Lastimosa is trying to make do with what he has with TNT as the team tries to grope for form in the absence of Williams on top of the other injuries to its key players.
TNT played without RR Pogoy, who has a rare heart condition, and injured players in Justin Chua, JP Erram, Paul Varilla, Henry Galinato and even import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson in their season debut.
Stand-in import Quincy Miller tried to carry the fight with 37 points and 14 rebounds alongside Calvin Oftana who poured 28 points on seven triples but to no avail.
For Lastimosa, though, offense was not the problem right now for TNT but finding their defensive identity.
“Wala si Mikey and si Roger, alam namin na we have to look for those points somewhere else. Calvin stepped up, Quincy had a pretty good game, Kelly also. We’re looking for even contributions from the rest of the team. For us to win, offense, everybody has to contribute,” Lastimosa pointed out.
“But the thing is, if you can’t defend one-on-one, we have to rely on our zone, that’s not going to bring you a championship. We have to improve on our defense. Offense will eventually figure it out,” he stressed.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph