Banal: Barako Bull won’t get an Asian import
MANILA, Philippines – The Barako Bull Energy don’t plan on acquiring an Asian import for the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup, as they believe their local players can do more than enough to help the team win games, head coach Koy Banal told Rappler on Thursday, April 16.
The PBA is installing a new practice for the upcoming conference by giving teams the option to add an Asian import, granted he’s not taller than 6-foot-3, in addition to an American import to bolster their rosters.
Barako Bull doesn’t plan on utilizing this advantage, even if they have been bounced out of the quarterfinal round in each playoffs of the last two conferences.
“We will not get an Asian import. I believe our locals can do whatever an Asian import can do,” Banal told Rappler.
Banal previously talked about the inclusion of Asian imports following his team’s elimination at the hands of the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters in the Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals, saying they won’t make much difference in terms of competition.
“I’m not buying that idea to have an Asian import. Our locals can compete with them and then mag-iimport tayo nang Asian, anong sinasabi natin sa mga locals natin?” Banal said.
(What are we saying to our locals if we get Asian imports?)
Banal said after the loss to Talk ’N Text that bringing back 7-foot-1 import Solomon Alabi was a priority for the team after his impressive performance in the second conference. The former NBA player averaged 23.7 points, 19.2 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks a game.
But Banal confirmed on Thursday that Alabi won’t return to the team for the Governors’ Cup.
“Solomon opted to go home because his fiancé is going to give birth in May,” Banal said.
Barako Bull is one of the four teams with the liberty to find an import without a height limit for the next conference. The franchise has yet to acquire one, but is in the process of reviewing three options.
One is Liam McMorrow, a 7-foot-2, 27-year-old big man from Toronto, Canada, who averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in his senior season with Tennessee Tech in the NCAA.
Another option is 6-foot-10, 30-year-old Rod Benson, who has career averages of 11.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks a game in his NBA D-League career. Benson was the GlobalPort Batang Pier’s choice for their import in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup, but due the league’s 6-foot-9 height limit for the top eight teams, he was unable to play for the franchise.
The third choice for Barako Bull is Devon Hardin, a 6-foot-11, 28-year-old big man out of the University of California. Hardin was a second-round pick of the Seattle Supersonics in the 2008 NBA Draft, but didn’t suit up for the team in the regular season due to a fracture in his left tibia.
A few weeks ago, Barako Bull traded its first-round pick in the 2015 PBA Draft to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for seldom-used Dylan Ababou and James Forrester. Banal is a fan of both new acquisitions.
“Dylan and James can both help us improve our 3-point field goals. We shot 24% last conference. They can also help us establish our defense. Both of them know what I’m expecting from my players because they were my formers players in the amateurs." – Rappler.com