TNT to bring in temporary replacement for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson for PBA season opener vs. Magnolia

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was out for TNT's EASL game against Chiba due to gastroenteritis. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

STA. ROSA, Laguna—Now it's TNT's turn to have a dilemma on its returning import.

Interim coach Jojo Lastimosa revealed on Wednesday night that the team is now considering bringing in a standby import as it awaits the recovery of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.

The PBA legend bared that the Asian Games silver medalist had to be confined for a few days after suffering from gastroenteritis.

"Rondae has been sick for a while now. He was actually hospitalized. He had gastroenteritis. He went into IV. He was there for a couple of days in the hospital dehydrated," Lastimosa said after the Tropang Giga's EASL clash with the Chiba Jets at the City of Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex here.

Lastimosa then said that they did not see Hollis-Jefferson's health scare coming as they thought he was feeling so well during training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in nearby Calamba City.

"It was something that we did not expect because Rondae attended our camp a few weeks back and he seemed OK, and then all of a sudden, everything turned for the worst," Lastimosa further said.

Although he was in attendance during the game, a sigh of relief for his fans, Hollis-Jefferson's clutch heroics were dearly missed as TNT could not complete a comeback from 20 points down and fell to Chiba in the second half of their home-and-home set.

Worse, the Tropang Giga now have to scramble for a temporary import for their Sunday night game against the Magnolia Hotshots to open the new PBA season at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Lastimosa, though, clarified that they will quickly reactivate Hollis-Jefferson once he gets cleared to play again.

"We are actually bringing a replacement already in case he won't be ready, but we're gonna wait for Rondae to get better. And we don't want to put him on the floor not close to 100 percent because it might just harm him in the long run. We're doing it conservatively. We're bringing in another guy so we can have an import on Sunday," Lastimosa further said.

However, with only four nights left before their next game, TNT is now pressed for time.

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