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Out, in, out again: Don Trollano takes it all in stride

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PH's road to 2018 Asiad (0:00)

From sending a TNT core to the Asian Games to Jordan Clarkson's one-time clearance from the NBA, let's take a look back and see how the Philippine Men's National Basketball Team returns to the 2018 Asian Games. (0:00)

JAKARTA -- To say that the past week has been a rollercoaster for Don Trollano is an understatement.

Initially bumped off the 12-man Gilas Pilipinas lineup for the 18th Asian Games to make way for Jordan Clarkson, Trollano was called up again after the NBA veteran was disallowed by the league from playing in Jakarta.

Trollano made the trip to this Indonesian capital and his name was included in the roster submitted to the local organizing committee last Monday. The TNT guard practiced with the rest of the team on Monday and Tuesday even as word spread back home about a last-ditch attempt to get Clarkson to play.

Early Wednesday, it was official: Clarkson was in, Trollano was out. Again. For the final time.

Trollano still gamely attended practice late Wednesday morning, and despite everything that had happened over the past 48 hours, he still had that trademark smile on his face.

"I understand them," he said in Filipino when asked about getting bumped off again. "They're just doing what's best for the team. I take it (as a) professional."

With the Governors' Cup opening on Friday and his Asian Games debut all but wiped out, Trollano could actually book the next flight home and suit up for his mother team TNT KaTropa. He revealed that TNT coach Nash Racela has sent word asking if he was heading back anytime soon.

"Actually coach Dexter (Aseron, Gilas and TNT physical therapist) told me that coach Nash was asking if I wanted to go home. I don't know. If they want, then I'll go home. Of course we have games already. I'm not in the lineup anyway and we have PBA games already. So I'm willing to go home."

His Gilas teammates, though, very much want him around. "He's not going home," center Beau Belga said with authority after overhearing the conversation.

Belga and a few other Gilas players here are all former teammates of Trollano's from his time with Rain or Shine. He has enjoyed this impromptu reunion, even though he won't get to wear a national team jersey with them.

"It's been really fun, traveling with them here. I've never experienced this before so I'm happy. Unfortunately I was unlucky, But I'm still happy to be here.

Asked if he's picked up any new things in Jakarta, "From Beau, a lot of silliness. My two roommates here are crazy, Beau and Raymond (Almazan). But I really missed them. They're both fun to be around. Beau even requested that we be roommates."

This trip has also reunited Trollano with his former coach Yeng Guiao, and he couldn't help but notice something diferent this time around.

"(Coach Yeng) is actually praising us," he said with a laugh. "He hasn't cursed anyone yet. I don't know, maybe during the games."

For his part, Guiao said it was tough to tell his former player that he was being dropped again, but knew he would understand.

"I know Don. Of course, I'm sure he wants to play. But he also knows the importance of Jordan Clarkson and the role he has to play. So that's not going to be hard to explain to him."

The fiery mentor also wants Trollano to stay and be part of their practice sessions, although he understands if TNT decides otherwise.

"I'm just not really sure on the other side, the PBA is about to start to TNT might want him back. I don't know yet what their plans are. But if he wants to stay and TNT allows him to stay, he can stay."

Trollano might just be a 13th man and no longer part of the official roster, but it's obvious everyone wants him around. In fact, he's become so popular among his teammates that they have a new name for him.

"We call him Don Clarkson," Guiao said with a laugh.