DECIDED to go for a new-look roster after having a “pedestrian” season at the Philippine Basketball Association last year, the TNT KaTropa aim to do better when a new edition of the premier local professional basketball league unfurls later this month with help from the players they had acquired.
Got role players Brian Heruela, David Semerad, and Mike Miranda in separate deals following the PBA rookie draft last month in exchange for disgruntled player Terrence Romeo and a couple of future rookie picks, the KaTropa are now busy incorporating the new players to get the most out of them as they play alongside the team holdovers.
For TNT coach Bong Ravena, the players they got from the deals they participated in should help their cause in the upcoming PBA season.
“The players we got are the type of players that we need. Heruela will be our backup point guard for Jayson (Castro) while Dave (Semerad) will be our energy guy. Miranda can post up, can play defense and can help our team be taller,” said Mr. Ravena, who took over the TNT team from erstwhile coach Nash Racela midway into last season’s Governors’ Cup and is assisted by consultant Mark Dickel.
TNT got hold of Messrs. Heruela and Semerad and a 2021 first-round pick from the San Miguel Beermen in exchange for Mr. Romeo.
Mr. Miranda, meanwhile, was part of the three-team deal among TNT, Blackwater Elite and NLEX Road Warriors that saw JP Erram going to the Road Warriors from the Elite, Mr. Miranda and a 2021 second-round pick (from Blackwater) to the KaTropa and first-round picks Paul Desiderio and Abu Tratter to Blackwater from NLEX.
With new players on board, Mr. Ravena said the first order of business for them is establishing a system that would harness all the abilities of the players they have to get the desired results.
“We have so many new players and as much as possible we want to involve everybody. Everyone must do their part and not leave bulk of the work to one or two players. We want to instill that when they are on court they have to do their job both offensively and defensively,” Mr. Ravena said.
To help them in their push, the team has set a training camp for this week to see where it stands and work on its game collectively.
“We will go to Tagaytay [for a training camp]. We will try to work on things and see where we can improve,” the TNT coach said.
“The focus of the training camp is for the team to develop chemistry and play as one which will be key as we set for the new season,” Mr. Ravena added.
Last year, TNT compiled a losing record of 17-19 in the three conferences, failing to go past the quarterfinals in the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cup while outright eliminated at the end of the elimination round of the season-ending Governors’ Cup.
The new season of the PBA begins on Jan. 13. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo