Though he has been in the Philippines for about a week now, Alaska Aces’ replacement import Nino Johnson admitted that he has yet to adapt, especially to the weather here.
“I didn’t eat how I should have with this new weather. I’m adjusting. I’ve only been here for a week,” he said.
“I’m not a hundred percent as far as adjusting to the weather, the condition[s] here.”
It showed Saturday in his PBA debut, when Alaska took on Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters in Commissioner’s Cup action. In the 31 minutes and 28 seconds he played, Johnson only had six points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Worse still, the Aces lost, 76-78, snapping their three-game winning streak.
“It’s a tough one. Tough loss on my first game,” Johnson said.
“Unfortunately, they scored a lucky basket at the end. It was a tough basket,” he added, referring to the tough, game-winning lay-up sank by center Justin Chua with 9.8 seconds left to play.
“He was more active in practice this week. And today, I don’t know what it was… Obviously, he wasn’t feeling that well,” observed Aces head coach Alex Compton of Johnson.
Johnson made a mark on the defensive end, though, as he collected game-highs of five steals and four blocks.
“But I think you could see what he could do defensively. He covered some ground defensively — got some blocks, got some steals,” the outspoken bench strategist expressed.
But that doesn’t leave Johnson satisfied. The 26-year-old forward from Memphis now looks to get back to work and do better for the Milkmen in their upcoming assignments.
“I’ll do — for sure — better next week. We get in practice, watch film, and we’ll be back and ready next week for sure.”