Rondae Hollis-Jefferson agreed ‘wholeheartedly’ with the take offered by TNT head coach Jojo Lastimosa that the club would have fared much better in the East Asia Super League (EASL) had they played with the former NBA cager.
“I think he’s a hundred percent right,” he told reporters moments after their 134-110 beatdown of NorthPort for a successful Governors’ Cup return, Wednesday at the Philsports Arena. “I agree with him wholeheartedly.”
The Tropang Giga wanted to play with Hollis-Jefferson for the EASL wars in Japan but the American cager could not obtain a working visa on time.
Left with no other choice, the team instead signed up Daniel Ochefu and paired him up with Jalen Hudson, their original import for the Governors’ Cup.
TNT would end the week-long tournament winless, with their losses to Utsunomiya Brex and Seoul SK both in humiliating fashion.
Lastimosa would want to forget all about what happened in the inter-club fest, but could only wish that the squad had the 28-year-old in tow.
“Gusto naming kalimutan yung EASL na yan. Ang wish lang sana namin nila Roger [Pogoy], the players, is we could have had Rondae as an import and we would have been just fine,” he said. “‘Yun lang ang sasabihin ko.”
Hollis-Jefferson was actually there with the Tropa in Japan and admitted that it was tough for him to be reduced to just a spectator.
Without him on the floor, the Pennsylvania native felt that the team missed his defensive presence, and that their camaraderie could’ve worked better.
“I could just see we were missing my defense, that kind of camaraderie that we’ve built over those three games that I was here. Kinda got hit with a wrench when they said I couldn’t play,” he said.
“You know, Jalen coming back in, when guys were getting used to playing with me, it was a little uncomfortable for the guys. But I feel like on the defensive end and from a team aspect, I definitely could’ve helped us. I feel like Jalen did a good job,” continued Hollis-Jefferson.
“Just sometimes, basketball works out that way.”
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