The first time Terrence Jones was in the Philippines, he was still playing for the Houston Rockets.
Jones was a member of the Rockets team that played the Indiana Pacers in the first-ever NBA preseason game in Manila back in 2013. This time, he will see action in the PBA as TNT's import for the upcoming Commissioner's Cup.
The KaTropa have been preparing for the next conference for a few weeks now but have had only three practices with Terrence Jones so far.
"It's been a lot of fun. The timezone is different and the climate is different to play in, but my teammates and the coaching staff have welcomed me with open arms and really made me feel comfortable. I'm excited to be here," Jones told reporters after TNT lost to Meralco in a tuneup game on Thursday.
"It's still very early, we're just trying to build chemistry and make sure we're learning each day. Right now, we're having a lot of fun learning one another, on and off the court."
Jones signed two 10-day contracts with the Rockets, but was not signed for the rest of the season, so he grabbed the opportunity to play in the PBA because he "wasn't ready to have a summer vacation."
"I'm treating it as a time for me to get better. Physically and mentally it's far away from home, but I'm gonna be able to adapt to a different culture and environment," said Jones.
TNT star Roger Pogoy knows Jones is still finding his way, but believes "he fits the system."
"He's a smart player and he's used to playing overseas," Pogoy added. "His energy is contagious, he's an energy guy. And he'll be a huge boost because we lack size."
Team consultant Mark Dickel said the offensive flow should run more smoothly with Jones, who scored 37 points in the exhibition loss to Meralco, as their import. But the challenge is figuring out how he can mesh Jones's playing style with the rest of the squad's.
"I'm really happy we got him here. I think now the challenge is trying to get our players to understand how he plays and not take away from what they do a lot. That's the challenge on offense, and on defense, how quickly we can get organized," explained Dickel.
"He's gonna make our offense that much easier, because now [opposing teams] gotta double team him all the time. For me, I just gotta work out ways to make it easier for him and still allow the other guys the opportunity to be still super involved."
Jones will make his PBA debut on May 22 when the KaTropa take on the NLEX Road Warriors.
ESPN5's Lyn Olavario contributed to this report.