American imports will tilt the balance | Inquirer Sports

American imports will tilt the balance

03:04 AM September 19, 2016

NLEX import Henry Walker. PBA IMAGES

NLEX import Henry Walker. PBA IMAGES

THE AMERICAN “import” will help decide the fate of the teams looking for a chance to go deep into the playoffs of the PBA Governors’ Cup. Sure, playing as a team will matter and how the starters and the bench players rise to the pressure of knockout games and seven-game showdowns down the road.

But where the eight remaining teams finally end up will be determined largely by how well the American guest player performs. The Asian imports are around but they seem to blend in with the Filipino style of play and have not really been dominant, save for a performance or two in the course of the conference.


The superlative performers have been Phoenix’s Eugene Phelps, Alaska’s LeDontae Henton, Meralco’s Allen Durham, Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee, Mahindra’s James White and NLEX’s Henry Walker. They have been game-changers with two important contributions: scoring in bunches and providing energy to create extra possessions for their teams.


Other teams in the playoffs have gone through alternate routes. TNT KaTropa is at the top of the roost going to the playoffs and has done so without the dominating presence of the import. Mychal Ammons is not your high-scoring guest player but provides hustle to help initiate added scoring opportunities for the TNT scorers. TNT KaTropa’s local lineup is so deep it can get scoring from Jason Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo and occasionally from Asian import Michael Madanly, who has a good touch from the rainbow.

Rain or Shine, in an unfamiliar spot trying to stay alive and make the semis anew, has been hit by import woes where the guest player has been unable to provide scoring and the stamina to stay in step with the running game Yeng Guiao likes the Elasto Painters to play.

Brownlee fits in nicely in Ginebra’s new strategic approach to the conference. He helps cushion the absence of the injured Greg Slaughter but adds a three-point shooting touch that gives Ginebra a smoother flow in its half-court game. Brownlee nets almost 30 points a game, shooting 39 percent from three-point distance.

Henton gives Alaska a total package because he can score from the perimeter and run with the Aces once they secure the ball with their trap. Durham gives Meralco confidence with an import willing to battle inside and to score when needed.

The import to watch will have to be White who initiated Mahindra’s winning streak in the eliminations and could determine how deep the Enforcers go in their first trip to the playoffs. White started out as a reluctant dominator simply because he was accustomed to playing a subdued role in his teams abroad.  But once the Mahindra brain trust convinced him to go for it, he has given the Enforcers a chance to mix it up with the big guns in the playoffs.

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TAGS: 2016 Governors' Cup, PBA

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