TNT Tropang GIGA active consultant Mark Dickel meant it when he said that the team sacrificed a lot when it included Don Trollano in the package to acquire a foundational talent in Ray Parks from Blackwater last year.
That’s because the Kiwi mentor is a big fan of the five-year pro’s game.
“My favorite player in another team is Don Trollano. I love Don,” Dickel told Tiebreaker Vodcasts’ Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART.
“I think he is a great player, he fits in perfectly on what we’re trying to do.”
Trollano first arrived at the flagship MVP franchise back in March of 2018 after a trade from Rain or Shine, the team that drafted him in 2015, in exchange for batchmate Norbert Torres in a one-for-one deal.
Since then, the Adamson University product has blossomed into a two-way player and became vital in TNT’s rotation. There was even a time that he was the designated defender on imports, like Justin Brownlee and Chris McCullough.
“He looked at a lot of film. It wasn’t easy for him. He started playing four, five minutes a game for us, and by the end, he was starting and playing really well,” recalled Dickel, who became the team consultant late in 2018.
Trollano seemed like a big part of the squad moving forward, until the opportunity to acquire the second-generation cager knocked on the door of TNT. It was a chance that Dickel and Co. could not pass up.
So the team decided to ship Trollano, along with bruising forward Tony Semerad and a 2021 first-round pick for Parks in a deal that needed a few revisions before the league gave it the go-signal.
Dickel has already explained why they pushed through despite the difficulty. But that doesn’t diminish the respect and admiration he has for Trollano. And if given the chance, he would work with him once more.
“I feel like in the time he had here, he really figured out how to play. He is a super smart kid. Great guy, kind of quiet; he worked out how to play — and he did a lot of work,” praised the two-time Olympian.
At present, Trollano is among the ‘young veterans’ the rebuilding Blackwater is looking up to this season. Across five games in the bubble so far, he has averages of 17.4 points and 8.6 rebounds — easily career-bests.
“He’s earned typically what he’s got,” a proud Dickel said.