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PBA: KaTropa signs NBA journeyman Tyler

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by Waylon Galvez

TNT head coach Nash Racela is confident that bringing in former NBA campaigner Jeremy Tyler as import will give his squad more flexibility in their campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup next month.

At 6-foot-10, Tyler has played the two forward positions in his career, including stints with the Golden State Warriors, the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks from 2011 to 2014.

“He’s very mobile for his size,” said Racela of Tyler.

“Jeremy will definitely give us flexibility since he can play both in and out,” added Racela, who expects the 26-year-old player to arrive this week to acclimatize him with the weather before TNT resumes practice session the first week of April, or after the Holy Week.

Tyler didn’t attend college despite a commitment to play under mentor Rick Pitino at University of Louisville as he opted to turn professional in 2009 when he signed with Maccabi Haifa in Israel.

He played just 10 games, and less than four months later, Tyler joined the Tokyo Apache in Japan where he averaged nearly 10 points and 6.4 rebounds. The team, however, disbanded following the 2011 earthquake.

That same year, Tyler applied for the NBA Rookie Draft and was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the second round, but his rights were shipped to the Warriors, where he played 42 games averaging nearly five points and four rebounds as a rookie during the 2011-12 Season.

In his second season, he played only 20 games and was traded to the Hawks, and after just one game, the team waived his rights.

He played for the Knicks in 2013 and appeared in 20 games, including a game against the Boston Celtics where he recorded a career-best 17 points with five boards and two blocks in a 114-88 win Jan. 28, 2014.

Aside from his stints with the three NBA teams, Tyler also played for the Dakota Wizards, the Santa Cruz Warriors and the Erie Bayhawks in the D-League, as well as several pro teams in China.

Tyler last played for the Sydney Kings in the National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia and averaged 13.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 shot blocks in 11 games.

TNT made it to the final round of the Commissioner’s Cup last season with import Joshua Smith, who suffered a foot injury in Game 2 and the team lost to San Miguel Beer, 4-2, in the best-of-seven series.

The 6-foot-10 Smith is currently under contract with the Kyoto Hannaryz in Japan, and will only be available in May, and TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio said it is still possible to tap him as import depending in the performance of Tyler in the elimination round.

“Of course our hope is that he performs well, but it’s an option to get Smith… but we’ll see,” said Villavicencio.

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