MANILA, Philippines – Talk ‘N Text head coach Norman Black is happy to welcome big man Rabeh Al-Hussaini to the Tropang Texters and is looking forward to helping the mercurial player maximize his basketball gifts.
Al-Hussaini, the second overall pick in the 2010 PBA Rookie Draft, was traded to TNT by GlobalPort in exchange for disgruntled center Japeth Aguilar.
The move reunited Al-Hussaini with Black, who was his college coach with the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
“I’m really happy to be reunited with Rabeh,” Black told Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star. “Rabeh was good in practice, and he will be a big help to the team because he wants to play for Talk ‘N Text.”
“He definitely gives us a young, big man who can help us inside the paint,” he added.
Black believes playing for Talk ‘N Text will be a boost to Al-Hussaini, who has developed a reputation as a difficult player in his short professional career.
“I think our veteran players will be a good influence on him and will help him reach his full potential,” Black said. “It may take him some time to learn our system, but once he does, I’m sure he will be a good fit.”
Al-Hussaini will likely play regular minutes for TNT as veteran center Ali Peek is out for a month after undergoing knee surgery.
The 2011 PBA Rookie of the Year told Snow Badua of Spin.ph that he is excited to renew ties with Black. [http://www.spin.ph/sports/basketball/news/al-hussaini-vows-to-do-everything-to-make-reunion-with-black-work]
“Alam na ni Coach Norman kung paano ako gamitin, alam niya kung paano ako lumaro,” said Al-Hussaini. “Willing akong i-accept lahat ng role. At least nasa coach ako na kilala ang ugali ko. Mas mapapadali ang lahat sa akin.”
With Black as his coach, Al-Hussaini won the UAAP Season 71 Most Valuable Player award. He also led the Blue Eagles to the Season 71 and Season 72 championships, and was the Finals MVP in Season 72.
Al-Hussaini was the second over-all pick in the 2010 draft, after Ateneo teammate Nonoy Baclao. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2011 and was an All-Star in the 2011-12 season.