Elite more talented for Comm’s Cup
Blackwater was full of promise following a franchise-best 7-4 showing in the elimination round of the PBA Governors’ Cup last year.
But with its core disassembled at the 11th hour before the new season, the Elite nose-dived to a 2-9 record to bring up the rear of the 12-team field in the on-going Philippine Cup.
Young again after dealing away some of its veterans in the off-season, Blackwater hopes to create ripples yet again, with the Elite set to be joined by No. 2 Draft pick Ray Parks and an import for the Commissioner’s Cup who will hopefully plug the team’s gaping hole in the middle.
Parks is set to finally join the Elite in practice Monday, while Stephenson is set to plane in in the first week of May after concluding negotiations with Blackwater management for his second PBA stint, the first one coming with Meralco two years ago.
The Elite will also have a new coach in Aris Dimaunahan, who took over from Bong Ramos.
And the difference with the team he has now and the one Ramos coached in the Philippine Cup is that Dimaunahan now has the tools to contend, especially if Stepheson comes in as good as he was before.
“His versatility will provide us a huge boost for our campaign in the upcoming conference,” he told the Inquirer on Sunday night, referring to the arrival of the 6-foot-3 Parks.
“He can play multiple positions and create mismatches for us, which will tell how good of an addition he’ll be for us,” he said of Parks, who is fresh off a campaign in the Asean Basketball League.
Stepheson, a legitimate NBA veteran who has had multiple stints around Europe and Asia, is expected to bolster Blackwater’s presence in the paint. —DENISON REY A. DALUPANG