Taking the role as head coach and team manager at the same time is tough, but Jojo Lastimosa felt it’s a lot more challenging telling a player that he’s no longer needed.
Jalen Hudson won five of TNT’s six games as an import, including a 56-point output in the Tropang Giga’s 128-122 victory over Converge last week.
“It’s hard,” said Lastimosa, one of Philippine Basketball Association’s all-time greatest players. “The most difficult part is being a team manager and coach, but telling somebody that he’s no longer needed, it’s hard.”
Despite his winning record and good numbers to boot, Hudson was replaced by National Basketball Association veteran Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who came up with an impressive debut, finishing with 37 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, and a +32 in efficiency.
His all-around impact was clearly felt by the Tropang Giga, who drew a 40-point output from Roger Pogoy and solid games from Mikey Williams, Glenn Khobuntin, and Calvin Oftana.
“People don’t understand that, but now you’ll probably see why we changed him (Hudson),” said Lastimosa. “He played a little of everything – rebounding, passing, defense, running the floor, and communicating on defense. That’s what we expected from him.”
“I really don’t expect him to score that much because he’s not a volume shooter like Jalen. Jalen is a talented scorer while Rondae is built differently. But the one good thing that’s happening with Rondae now is that we’re moving the ball around. The players were getting better looks.”
According to Lastimosa, Hudson was originally going to serve as a back up, but has to leave as he has already an offer to play in South Korea.