Youthful Tony Mitchell had a spring in his step as he made his PBA debut with the Star Hotshots, Wednesday evening.
At just 24 years of age, Mitchell, the 37th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, was all over the place against the Phoenix Fuel Masters. The high-flying American showed off his entire repertoire — draining a couple of threes, swatting away three shots, and even had a jam in the final frame.
Behind Mitchell’s 24-point, 16-rebound outing, the Hotshots were able to rout the Fuel Masters, 101-82, to open their campaign on a high note.
“It was a good win but we’re still gonna do a little better,” the 6-foot-8 reinforcement said after the game.
“It was an okay win for us. But we need to keep practicing hard and keep on competing, keep playing.”
However, he might have have been too overly excited, as he was called for some of basket interference and committed six turnovers, while being hampered by foul trouble.
After being assessed with three fouls during the first half — one in the offensive end — he was immediately whistled for his fourth foul, two minutes and 35 seconds into the second half.
And Mitchell, who is playing in his seventh league, thinks that the officiating in the Philippines’ topflight league is, in his words, soft.
“The refs were terrible. I don’t agree with the refs at all. It’s kinda too soft.
“In different leagues, it’s kind more physical to me. They call a lot of touch fouls,” the former Detroit Piston shared.
His teammates had to constantly remind him to keep his hands up. And after getting a feel of the PBA-game, he now knows that he needs to adjust to it.
“My coaches and my teammates are helping me much. They’re reminding me to keep my hands up, ‘Don’t foul anymore,'” said Mitchell, who was assessed his fifth personal foul with 3:29 left in the game.
“At the end of the day, I just need adjust. I got to play aggressive defense without fouling.
Moreover, he is just grateful to be part of the PBA.
“Other than that, this is a great organization to be part of,” he added.