MANILA, Philippines – NBA veteran Lou Amundson's first foray into international basketball ended on a winning note, as he helped the TNT KaTropa crush the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 134-109, in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday.
Amundson had 20 points and eight rebounds in the win, which marked his second and last game for the KaTropa. He failed to lead TNT to victory in his debut, tallying 19 points and 18 rebounds in a 94-89 loss to Meralco.
"It's kind of bittersweet," Amundson said of his exit. "I like it here, and my teammates are great people, the coaches are great people. I'm just blessed with this opportunity, and to be on this team for a short amount of time."
"It's really enjoyable, and I was able to get good experience here," he added.
Amundson, a 10-year NBA veteran who had stints in Phoenix, Golden State, and New York, is still somewhat disappointed that they lost to Meralco on Friday, but at the same time, he is delighted to have helped the KaTropa enter the win column before leaving.
He is also confident that TNT can go far in the midseason conference. "I think they're going to be great," he predicted.
"Having Jayson (Castro) was obviously huge for them. He's a great player, so that's a big lift. They have a lot of great young players, and they have to learn how to play without Jayson," added Amundson.
"The way they played today, fast, uptempo, fastbreaks, and good defense, the sky is the limit for this team."
Donte Greene, who played for four seasons with the Sacramento Kings, will take over as TNT's import in their next game.
"He's a great scorer," Amundson said of Greene. "He shoots the ball from deep, and he's just a talented scorer. He's going to bring that scoring punch when Jayson is not with the team, and I think he'll integrate nicely."
Amundson plans to visit Palawan for a few days and relax before returning to the United States. He said his next step is to find "a good European team," but also hopes to play in the PBA again in the future.
"I would love to play here again," he said. "Hopefully, by having a little bit of experience here, I was able to show some teams what I have to offer and maybe, I'll be back for another team in the future."
TNT coach Nash Racela expressed his gratitude to Amundson, especially as the NBA veteran accepted the KaTropa's offer despite knowing that he will only have an abbreviated stint as an import.
"From the very beginning, after (Denzel) Bowles left, we signed up Donte Greene. It just happened na 'yung papers niya, hindi umabot. For precaution, we looked for a replacement just for this weekend," Racela explained.
"That's why we're very lucky and appreciative of what Lou Amundson did for us. We gave them a call, and right away, he committed to play for us. We're very thankful to him. He was very professional in handling the situation, knowing that another import was flying in," he added.
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