There is no denying how dominant TNT’s Terrence Jones has been in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
In his first six games in Asia’s pioneering pro league, the former NBA cager put up per-game averages of 31.3 points – including three 40-point games – 15.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists.
Even current Meralco head coach Norman Black – one of the league’s all-time greats, and still the yardstick for import performance – acknowledges how good Jones is.
“He has the talent. He is good, there’s no question about that – he’s a good player. He’s probably the best import here right now, and he should be,” said the Grand Slam-winning tactician.
“He’s not just done it here in the Philippines, he’s done it the United States, in the NBA. You know he’s a really good player.”
But when asked if he has seen anyone like Jones before, Black said that he has seen much better.
“I’ve seen imports score a hundred points here in the Philippines, so malayo. I’ve seen guys average fifty points a game, so malayo,” said Black, who averaged 51.8 points in his first PBA stint in 1981.
However, Jones gave Black and the whole Bolts side a headache when they crossed paths Saturday evening.
“I thought he dominated the game,” said Black, whose side fell to 3-4.
Black also rued the “bad match-up” between Jones and his new import Jimmie Taylor – the substitute for the injured Gani Lawal – who was unable to keep up with the Kentucky alum.
Taylor had 13 points, along with 18 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal in over 39 minutes.
“It was a pretty bad match-up with the import tonight,” the decorated mentor lamented. “Terrence Jones pretty much dominated the game, and my import was not able to come close to his type of production. Just from the import stand, the import match-up alone was somewhat of a disadvantage tonight. Not to mention that they also shot the ball very well from the perimeter.
“But a lot of that was coming off the help defense against the import.”
Still, Black gave Taylor a benefit of the doubt, as the American center only arrived in the country just days ago, and so has yet to familiarize himself with his new team.
“In fairness to Jimmie, he just arrived two days ago. And there’s no way he could possibly know our system after just one and a half practices. In fairness to him, he just got here,” he said.
“You give him the benefit of the doubt. But production-wise, you can see that Gani is more productive as a player, especially on the offensive end of the court,” Black continued.
“Maybe Jimmie can match him as far as rebounds are concerned, but I think Gani is a better offensive player.”
Asked if the team is considering replacing Taylor, Black said that it will all depend on Lawal’s condition. Meralco currently have Lawal on the injured/reserve list due to hamstring issues.
“Gani is only on the injured list because of a hamstring injury. We’ll check with him to see whether he’s okay enough to play again. If not, we’ll have to go with Jimmie on Wednesday.”
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