Dozier thrilled to be back as Alaska defends Commissioner’s Cup crown
MANILA, Philippines — With Rob Dozier looking to pick up where he left off, Alaska finds itself right where it needs to be when it opens its PBA Commissioner’s Cup title defense against Talk ‘N Text Wednesday.
Dozier, last year’s Best Import when the Aces swept the Barangay Ginebra Kings in a best-of-five series for the title, will be teaming up again upfront with Sonny Thoss along with veteran wingmen Cyrus Baguio, Dondon Hontiveros and guard JVee Casio.
“I’m just excited to be back and play basketball. To get back here with the same group makes me feel good. It’s the same coaching staff so I’m familiar with the plays and I don’t have to learn as much. It’s comfortable right now,” said Dozier.
“He (Dozier) gave us an 18-4, that’s the best record in franchise history in 26 years. Not only is he a good player but he’s a good person. I’m just thankful he gave us an opportunity,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Bringing back a familiar face allows the Aces to just continue what they had worked on the last time they brought in Dozier rather than spending the first few weeks of practice trying to introduce the system to a newcomer.
“It’s an advantage because he knows the players, he knows the system,” said Trillo, who also said that the close losses last conference was a good learning experience for his team.
The six-foot-nine Dozier though, hasn’t played since helping Alaska win the championship last May.
“I’m just starting to get better. Of course, we want to win a championship but our goal is to take it one game at a time. We just need to focus because this conference is a lot shorter,” said Dozier.
But whether Dozier’s is still groping for form, Trillo doesn’t seem to be concerned about it knowing the kind of work ethic his import has.
“There are a lot of imports that come here with probably better talent. I’m just amazed at how hard we works. To all the players, 2-3 weeks is already a long time but with him he’s coming in able to run and play. He needed to refresh also. I’m just impressed that he doesn’t look out of shape.”
“We just feel good about the team. We know we’re not there yet but we’re improving,” Trillo added.
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