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Ivan Johnson returns to re-energize Texters

Ivan Johnson unleashes a hookshot over fellow import Wayne Chism during the last season's foreign reinforcement-laden PBA conference. | File Photo
MANILA, Philippines – Talk 'N Text coach Jong Uichico believes the return of flamboyant American import Ivan Johnson could help infuse the competitive fire and instant offense for the Tropang Texters, who are set to defend their PBA Commissioner's Cup crown starting next month.
 
The wide-bodied Johnson is expected to arrive this Friday.
 
"Ivan gives us a lot of energy in the game and in practice because he's a competitor," Uichico told Philstar.com shortly after the team's practice on Wednesday at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center inside the Ateneo campus.
 
Known for his 3-point shooting and strong inside plays, the 31-year-old Johnson will be coming from a stint with the San Sebastián Gipuzkoa BC in Spain late last year.
 
Uichico said he doesn't see any problem pairing the former Atlanta Hawk with either Troy Rosario or Moala Tautaa, the top two rookie picks in last year's draft. 
 
"I haven't really tinkered around with that (Johnson playing alongside Rosario and Tautuaa at front court) but that is a possibility," he said.
 
"We'll just have to see how they can play together since Ivan is flexible naman. He can play inside and outside."
 
The former Cal State San Bernardino standout might have to carry much of the scoring cudgels at the front court while Rosario recovers from a shoulder injury he sustained in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals against Rain or Shine last month.
 
Johnson averaged 26.8 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals as he led Talk 'N Text to the Commissioner's Cup title behind its 4-3 Finals conquest of Rain or Shine.
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