TNT KaTropa will take on the Lance Stephenson-powered Liaoning Flying Leopards in the main event of East Asia Super League’s Terrific 12 which is set to kick off on Tuesday, September 17 at the Tap Seac Stadium in Macau.
Game time is 9:00pm with the KaTropa expected to encounter rough sailing against the Chinese squad which also boasts of Salah Mejri who played four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks and suited up for Tunisia in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The 33-year old Mejri, who scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in his team’s 86-67 win over Gilas Pilipinas in the Classification Round, emerged as Tunisia’s top scorer and rebounder in the tournament.
Stephenson, meanwhile, played 9 seasons in the NBA and spent his last season with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Our plan is to win the championship so that momentum will help us as a club heading into the regular season,” said Stephenson.
“I can’t wait to play in The Terrific 12 with my new teammates. I’m excited to play in such a great tournament this early in the season. It should really help us unite as a team and help me acclimate to this new style of play more easily,” added the 40th overall pick in the 2010 NBA Rookie Draft.
TNT will miss the services of Ryan Reyes, Kelly Williams and Anthony Semerad due to injuries. Reyes is out with a calf injury while Williams is still dealing with back problems. Semerad is still recovering from a shoulder injury which he sustained during the semifinal round of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
“If we can win games over there, that would be great, but you know that our preparation is to get the team ready also for the PBA third conference. But due to our situation, and the injured players we have, we haven’t practice as a complete team,” said KaTropa head coach Bong Ravena during an interview with ESPN5.
Gilas stalwarts Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy will join the team in Macau and is expected to see action.
TNT will be reinforced by its Governors’ Cup import KJ McDaniels along with McKenzie Moore, a Greek Basket League and New Zealand NBL veteran.