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TNT parades Ochefu in EASL

TNT Tropang Giga will be parading Daniel Ochefu when it competes in the East Asia Super League Champions Week.

Tropang Giga team manager Jojo Lastimosa confirmed the development, saying that the 6-foot-11 Ochefu will be coming over to join Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as their reinforcement in the prestigious regional tournament set from 1 to 15 January.

Lastimosa clarified that Hollis-Jefferson, who put up impressive numbers in his first two games in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup, has yet to secure his Japanese visa formally.

“Ochefu is already in town,” Lastimosa said, referring to Ochefu, who was supposed to suit up for Rain or Shine in the previous Commissioner’s Cup but was replaced by Steve Taylor.

“But we’re still trying to get a visa for Hollis-Jefferson.”

It will not be the first time for the Tropang Giga to play in the EASL.

Four years ago, the Tropang Giga paraded KC McDaniels and McKenzie Moore in the EASL Terrific 12 together with local teams San Miguel Beer and Blackwater.

They battled crack clubs like the Liaoning Flying Leopards, Shenzen Aviators, Zhejiang Guangsha Lions, Chiba Jets, Niigata Albirex BB, Ryukyu Golden Kings, Utsonomiya Brex, Jeonju KCC Egis and Seoul SK Knights.

This time, the Tropang Giga opted to bring in a bigger import to team up with Hollis-Jefferson, the same strategy being used by San Miguel Beer, which is bringing in 6-foot-10 Jessie Govan.

Like Ochefu, Govan wasn’t able to play in the PBA for Meralco after exceeding the height limit.

He will be teaming up with Cameron Clark, who’s been playing solid basketball for the Beermen.

A member of the 2016 Villanova Wildcats champion team in the US National Collegiate Athletic Association, Ochefu is also being brought in based on team’s need as the Tropang Giga is missing the services of center Poy Erram, who is still recuperating after undergoing knee procedure.

After playing for the Washington Wizards in the 2016-2017 season of the National Basketball Association, Ochefu spent the next two years playing for four teams in the G League – the Maine Red Claws, Windy City Bulls, Reno Bighorns and Stockton Kings – before deciding to bring his talent to Spain in 2019.

But Ochefu is no stranger to playing at the Asian level as he suited up for the Ibaraki Robots in the Japan B. League and the Seoul Samsung Thunder in the Korean Basketball League before spending the past year playing in Mexico and Venezuela after a failed stint in the PBA.

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