Racela believes Greene's foul woes haunted TNT over Star

By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY—For Coach Nash Racela, if there is one reason why TNT succumbed to Star on Wednesday night, it was not Ricardo Ratliffe's explosion in his first game back but rather Donte Greene's foul trouble.

The former NBA veteran and Gilas naturalized player prospect did put up decent stats of 29 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, and one block, but he had to play with five fouls in the second half.

"We're in control of the game in the second quarter, but then [the referees] called the third foul on the import. He sat down. That's why [the Hotshots] were able to recover. In the third quarter, they called the fourth and the fifth [fouls]. It's hard," Racela told some sportswriters after the game at the Mall of Asia Arena.

He also said that Greene's foul trouble made the KaTropa miss Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and RR Pogoy, who were loaned to Gilas for the SEABA Men's Championship, more.

"That's actually the reason why we brought in Donte. But if he's sitting down, mawawala ang purpose niya," Racela further rued.

TNT still made a comeback bid late in the fourth quarter, cutting a lead of as high as 12 down to three, but with Greene, who went scoreless in the third quarter and only made four markers in the final frame, already losing steam because of foul trouble, the team could not complete the rally.

"Crucial din kasi nung timing ng kay Donte eh. He sat down for the whole 12 minutes," Racela again said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno