'Durham can do what Arinze does' | Inquirer Sports

‘Durham can do what Arinze does’

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 08:45 PM June 15, 2016

Durham (June 10, 2014)_header

Meralco import Allen Durham during his stint with Barako. PBA IMAGES

Meralco had its best conference yet with import Arinze Onuaku leading the Bolts to one win away from what would’ve been the franchise’s first ever Finals appearance.

And with Onuaku, the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup Best Import, ineligible to play in the Governors’ Cup due to height restrictions the Bolts knew they would have to bring in a reinforcement like Allen Durham, who is in the same mold as the wide-bodied center.


“Durham can do what Arinze does, but I think overall in his game, he’s a better free-throw shooter. We’re excited to have him. He loves to rebound,” said Meralco assistant coach Luigi Trillo on Wednesday after team practice at Meralco Gym in Pasig City.


Team captain Jimmy Alapag echoed his coach’s sentiments while also adding that Durham can do more on the offensive end with his mid-range game.

“It’s going to be important that he provides that same presence that Arinze had. Obviously, Arinze’s a much bigger guy, but I remember playing against Durham when he was still with Barako and he was a presence inside. We’ll definitely need him to provide that for us,” said Alapag, who was still with Talk ‘N Text when Durham suited up for Barako Bull.

“I think he might not be as big or massive of a presence as Arinze was for us, but I think he might be a little bit more skilled in being able to step away from the basket and work from a little bit outside the post,” the veteran point guard added.

The 6-foot-5 Durham arrives in Manila on Saturday and with him joining the team early, Alapag said the Bolts will be coming into the new conference better prepared than they were in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Meralco doesn’t have one player part of Gilas Pilipinas, which is currently in Greece for its 18-day training camp in Europe preparing for the Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament slated next month, and the team is going to use it to its advantage.

“This is a time that we have an advantage, I think, because most of the other teams are with Gilas, so this is a time where we can come in and really try to try new things,” said Trillo, who is helping oversee training with head coach Norman Black part of Gilas’ coaching staff. “We’ve got six, seven weeks before our first game. We’re not in a rush where we’re trying to cram everything altogether.”


“Guys have been coming in and maintaining that same focus and work ethic that we were able to build last conference. It will be important for us to sustain that as we get ready for the third conference,” Alapag said. “Durham will arrive this week. It’s always to get an import in early.”

Trillo bared the Bolts are scheduled to play about eight tune-up games in the coming weeks leading up to the new conference.

Apart from Durham, Meralco has also tapped Iranian guard Mohammad Jamshidi as its Asian import.

Trillo said Jamshidi gives the Bolts depth and versatility with his ability to create and make shots.

“With Jamshidi, I think he’s a guy that, what coach Norman liked, fills up a lot of holes that we need to fix. He’s not exceptionally good in one skill, but he’s good in a lot of things. He can bring down the ball like a point guard, he can hit the three. Off the pick and roll, I haven’t seen a guy like him where he’s making assists, making his teammates better.”

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The 24-year-old Jamshidi won’t be with the Bolts until after the qualifiers where Iran will be gunning for an Olympic berth in Turin, Italy.

TAGS: Allen Durham, Arinze Onuaku, Basketball, Meralco Bolts, Sports

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