With Wells not fully healthy, San Miguel mulling import change
MANILA, Philippines – Whether Dez Wells will still reinforce San Miguel in the PBA Governors' Cup remains uncertain after the import sat out in the Beermen's 99-96 overtime victory over Blackwater on Wednesday, November 6.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria bared they have backup imports ready to take the place of Wells, who suffered an ankle injury in a 26-point loss to Meralco two weeks ago.
The high-scoring Wells – who averages 37.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 4.8 assists – was expected to play against the Elite as he joined the team in training, but skipped practice a day before the match.
"There's a little bit of inflammation on his ankle and the other parts of his foot are compensating," Austria said in a mix of Filipino and English, adding the pain transferred to Wells' Achilles tendon.
"But in the last few days, he's practicing well. Especially last Monday, he was really challenging every player who guards him, especially on penetration."
That means Wells could also miss their crucial match against Rain or Shine on Saturday, November 9, at the Hoops Dome in Lapu, Lapu, Cebu.
Now at solo No. 4 behind a 6-3 record, the Beermen are in a must-win situation if they want to finish the elimination round inside the top 4, which merits teams a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.
"We have backups. Maybe tonight we'll know if there's somebody coming for us. But I can't reveal the name yet because our game on Saturday is very crucial for us," the three-time Coach of the Year added.
"But if he can't play, there's somebody who can replace him."
Having a healthy import will play a pivotal part for San Miguel in its bid for a rare Grand Slam, with all 3 teams under the MVP group – NLEX, TNT, and Meralco – running hot and seeking to prevent history from unfolding.
But even as they occupy the top 3 spots, that has not stopped them from making moves, with the KaTropa acquiring top rookie Ray Parks and the Bolts adding shooter Allein Maliksi and big man Raymar Jose.
"Anybody could be a contender, especially if you take a look at the standings, it's very unusual. Usually the San Miguel Corporation teams are at 1-2-3, now it's the other way around," Austria said.
"It's an indication that they're really preparing hard. If you noticed, there's a lot of trades happening in their favor because this is the chance for anyone to win a championship, especially because we're not playing that well." – Rappler.com