In an effort to inject life into their 2018 Governors' Cup campaign, the TNT KaTropa decided to look outside the country for help as they are enlisting Mark Dickel of New Zealand to aid the team this conference.
This development was confirmed to ESPN5 by a team source who added that they are working on the requirements of Dickel as they attempt to have him on the bench as a team consultant by the time they resume action against the debuting Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on September 22 in Passi City, Iloilo.
During the first week of September, TNT head coach Nash Racela went on leave with Eric Gonzales leading the team as an active head coach in their tough 118-114 overtime victory against the Columbian Dyip.
The arrival of Dickel also came with the hiring of a new import in Marqus Blakely who replaced Stacy Davis. Blakely will be TNT's third import after starting out with Mike Glover this conference.
"The management decided to pursue a different direction but we still have to fulfill requirements," said the source. "We hope to have him on the bench with an active role for our next game."
After graduating from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dickel had a long and decorated professional basketball career which saw him play in his home country of New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Belgium, Russia, Poland, Greece, and Germany.
In 2011, he started his transition from player to coach when he signed a two-year deal with the Otago Nuggets of New Zealand's National Basketball League where he also took the role of Basketball Otago's Director of Development. He was appointed playing coach in 2014. Currently he is coach of the NBL's Canterbury Rams.
Dickel played twice in the Olympics as New Zealand finished 11th in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 10th in the 2004 Athens Olympics under current Ateneo head coach Tab Baldwin.
If their initial plans come to fruition, TNT will put Dickel in a role similar to what Rajko Toroman had with Petron and Barako Bull and Todd Purves for San Miguel Beer.