Despite the TNT KaTropa parading new faces after a series of moves in the off-season, team consultant Mark Dickel still likes the Texters’ chances for the upcoming 44th season of the PBA that will open this Sunday, January 13.
The flagship MVP franchise underwent a revamp back in December. It began with the trade of Terrence Romeo to San Miguel, then the shipping away of Francis Tamsi and Papot Paredes to the Blackwater Elite and the NLEX Road Warriors, respectively.
In return, the Texters received solid guys such as Brian Heruela, David Semerad, and 6-6 center Michael Miranda. They also received future draft picks.
“I feel good about our chances,” said Dickel moments after TNT’s practice on Monday morning at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center. “But we gotta prove it on the court … We also need some time to try and get everyone in.
“I feel good about our chances but we gotta get in the games and prove it.”
With regards to their new players, Dickel heaped praises towards them, saying that they are fitting well into the team and into the system they are installing. Dickel, moreover, said that they will definitely get more chances in TNT.
“They’re doing a great job. They fit in really well. I’m excited. They fit in well,” the Kiwi coach disclosed. “They’d definitely get more of a chance here. There’s no doubt about that.
“They fit in really well here in what we’re trying to do.”
Asked about expectations for the new season, Dickel did not shy away that they are aiming for a championship.
“Internally, our expectations is to try to win every game. We feel like we got good enough players to do that. As far as management and coaches and everyone, we’re trying to win the championship like everyone else.
“We’re not shying away from that. Historically we’ve had a team that’s been capable of doing that. It’s quickly as possible we try to get back to that level,” added the 42-year-old.
The KaTropa will gace the opening of the 44th season at the Philippine Arena opposite the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel – quite the early test for TNT. But Dickel remains positive, and he hopes for the best on Sunday.
“Ginebra is the best, if not one of the best, teams here. For us, we know we already know we’re coming in as the underdogs. We just gotta get in there and play a good game and hope that that’s good enough on Sunday.”
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