TALK 'N Text has shown it can win even without an import, but knows that was due more to luck than anything else.
So the Tropang Texters are unveiling a new import in Donnell Harvey against Air21 Wednesday in a bid to solidify their hold of the PBA Commissioner's Cup solo leadership at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Harvey arrived late last week, not able to take part in all-Filipino TnT's 102-96 win over B-MEG
last Wednesday, but in time to help the team realize a fourth win in as many outings. He formally replaced Omar Samhan, who got injured in the team's second game.
For coach Chot Reyes, how Harvey fares against Douthit should be key to the game.
"Air21 has a proven, quality high-quality import who plays well with them while this will be our
first time to play with Donnell Harvey after only three practices together," pointed out Reyes on the eve of the match.
"We need to be ready to adjust on the fly tomorrow."
If his credentials are any indication, Harvey should adjust quickly, not only to the style of play of TnT but also the league.
The 31-year-old, 6-foot-8 forward was drafted 22nd overall by the New York Knicks in 2000 but traded immediately to Dallas. Aside from the Mavericks, Harvey also suited up for the New Jersey Nets,Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, and Phoenix Suns.
The former University of Florida standout has also had stints in Turkey, Puerto Rico, Bosnia and, most recently, China, where he competed against the likes of Douthit and Barangay Ginebra's Jackson Vroman.
Douthit has had the benefit of being already familiar with the PBA brand of play since he was with Smart-Gilas and so far has come up with solid numbers of 20.3 points and 18.0 rebounds per game.
For Express coach Franz Pumaren, however, it should not be left up to Douthit alone for them to snap out of a two-game slide, especially now that they are up against such a powerhouse team as TnT.
"We should try to slow them down and limit their fastbreak points," said Pumaren. "We are playing the best team of the tournament, that's why we should play smart and try to outwork them for us to compete." (NC)