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PBA: TNT import hopes to get FIBA clearance

OTHYUS Jeffers

by Waylon Galvez

Manila, Philippines – Talk ’N Text is keeping its fingers crossed that import Othyus Jeffers will get the green light from FIBA to play in the Philippine Basketball Association.

TNT mentor Norman Black said yesterday that they are still waiting for FIBA’s response in connection with their request to get a clearance for Jeffers to continue his work here in the Philippines.

“No word yet, FIBA office doesn’t open until 3 p.m. our time,” Black said in a text message, referring to the FIBA Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland that opens at 9 a.m. (6 hours delayed).

The Tropang Texters (1-0) will play the Alaska Aces (1-1) Monday evening at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

If the 6-foot-5 Jeffers will not get the required FIBA clearance, Talk ’N Text will be forced to play with an all-Filipino unit versus Alaska, which will now be handled by Alex Compton after Luigi Trillo stepped out last Sunday.

Jeffers helped TNT to a 105-99 win against sister-team Meralco as he posted 38 points, 13 rebounds and two steals in 42 minutes of action. He has been here for two weeks before the start of the season-ending conference.

At first, Jeffers and the TNT management thought that the player’s former NBA team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, already released him and in fact he was actually given clearance from FIBA.

However, a communication from Minnesota came last week that he isn’t cleared to play. He suited up in the Timberwolves’ final six games of the 2014 regular season of the NBA.

After playing with the Timberwolves, Jeffers was named co-MVP of the NBA Developmental League (D-League) with Ron Howard as member of the Iowa Energy, averaging 20.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.2 steals.

“Minnesota is saying that they still have the rights to Jeffers, so FIBA has canceled the clearance. That’s why we’re asking for finality and to clear the issue. Jeffers was cleared to play, sabay binabawi,” said a team insider.

Aside from the Timberwolves, Jeffers, who went undrafted in 2008, also played for the Utah Jazz, the San Antonio Spurs and the Washington Wizards with NBA career averages of 3.9 points and 2.6 assists.