Beermen, Aces still in hunt for ‘suitable’ imports
AFTER figuring in a best-of-seven title series for the PBA Philippine Cup that was nothing short of a classic, San Miguel Beer and Alaska are now in a hurry to sign up imports that will suit their needs for the coming Commissioner’s Cup.
The Beermen, who scored a dramatic 80-78 Game 7 victory last Wednesday night, are awaiting word from Arinze Onuaku, who is expecting a call-up from NBA teams after an impressive D-League Showcase tournament recently.
The Aces, meanwhile, have brought in DJ Covington but found their import too small for the 6-foot-9 height limit.
Each of the teams that finished in the top eight of the Philippine Cup is allowed an import of 6-foot-9 in height, while the bottom four—KIA Motors, Blackwater, NLEX and Barako Bull—can field imports of unlimited height.
Alaska will try out Covington in the next few days before deciding on his fate.
Covington wound up his collegiate career with VMI as the Keydets’ all-time leader in blocked shots with 272, 106 of them coming in his senior year last season when he won the Big South’s Defensive Player of the Year plum for the second time.
He also averaged 20.1 points per game —24th overall in the United States NCAA —in a sterling collegiate career that still remained out of the radar of NBA scouts.
Alaska gets the chance to test Covington when the Aces plunge into action on Feb. 3 against defending champion Purefoods, which will also be playing a short import in Marqus Blakely.
The Star Hotshots were eyeing Denzel Bowles but the import was way over the height limit. Purefoods coach Tim Cone will play Blakely in their first few games until a suitable candidate is signed up.
San Miguel has the luxury of finding a power forward-type player who can complement reigning MVP and Philippine Cup Best Player June Mar Fajardo.
The Beermen get their campaign going on Feb. 4 against KIA Motors and PJ Lucas, the 7-foot-4 Puerto Rican stalwart.
NLEX is bringing in NBA veteran Al Thornton while Barangay Ginebra is playing Michael Dunigan. Meralco is still without an import at press time.