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Smith’s finals stint doctor’s call

Josh Smith
 

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MANILA, Philippines -  Whether Josh Smith will play on or not in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals will be the doctor’s call.

Smith undergoes X-ray examination and other medical tests today from which team doctor Otilio Navarro will base his decision on whether Smith is fit to battle in the TNT KaTropa-San Miguel Beer title showdown, which begins Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 350-pound import, an immovable power at the post, has expressed willingness to stay on and finish the tourney despite a slight ligament tear sustained in Game Three of their semifinal face-off with Barangay Ginebra.

He said it’s for his teammates and his family, especially as his girlfriend back in the United States is about to give birth in the next few days.

In helping the Texters to their first finals in six conferences, the former Georgetown U player earned pay and bonuses that he said were more than what he got in a year in the NBA D-League.

Some players want Smith to be allowed to play at least in Game One.

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“But it’s the doctor’s call in the end,” TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio told The STAR.

“Inasmuch as we’re grateful to him, we’re also concerned with him. It’s his health and career that’s on the line,” Villavicencio added.

TNT has flown in a possible substitute in Mike Myers, a product of Maryland Eastern Shore who’s fresh from a stint in a European league.

Also a stocky player standing a bit shorter than Smith, Myers sat behind the TNT Saturday as the Texters dispatched the Gin Kings, 122-109, to set up a title showdown with the Beermen.

Myers was set for a shoot-around session with the TNT reserves at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center on the Ateneo campus in Katipunan yesterday afternoon.

“He’s a banger,” said Villavicencio.

“While Smith is playing his first tournament out of the country, Myers is already a veteran of international play,” Villavicencio added.

The rest of the team will return to practice today. 

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