PBA Reinforcements (Game Day 1)

Arinze Onuaku (right, #5) posting up against Marc Pingris as Allein Maliksi Looks on (Photo from PBA FB Page)
Meralco reinforcement Arinze Onuaku (right, #5) posting up against Marc Pingris (center) as Allein Maliksi (left) tries to help (Photo from PBA FB Page)
How did the first batch of imports fare in their first game of this 2016 conference? Did they had difficulty in adjusting to the UFC-brand of basketball here in the Philippines?

Here we go!


MJ RHETT (Blackwater Elite)

Coming out of his senior year in college at Ole Miss, Rhett brought his wares in Latvia before being tapped by the Elite to be their reinforcement for this conference. Blackwater made their first playoff appearance last conference and they used the maximum height limit for imports to sign the 23-year old big man.

45 minutes, 16 points, 7 boards, 5 TOs

He may have seen how Ivan Johnson’s intimidating playing style during their tune-up game against TNT before the conference’s curtain raiser. Rhett needs to assert himself more down low and be more aggressive on both ends of the floor. 16 and seven isn’t a number expected from an import but to get his feet wet in the PH shores, he’s gotta prove that his comparisons with Chris Bosh would be given justice, or maybe even more. Just like what Anthony Suntay said, “You gotta learn how to fly.”

IVAN JOHNSON (TNT Tropang Texters)


The temperamental import who broke Paul Lee’s front teeth was suspended the the commish for reasons the big boys of Blackwater already know (and you guys already know). I can’t wait to see the TNT-ROS collision this early but for now, sit your ass down there as you’ve been served a comfy start sitting on your couch.

PHP50,000 poorer, 1 game suspension

ARINZE ONUAKU (Meralco Bolts)

Is this guy really 6’9″? He looks bigger than JMF but maybe because of his heft? Anyways, he just arrived this early morning, slept the almost the entire morning, did not have practice with the team, woke up, did warm-ups, and dominated on his first game.
He already got 13-13 at the half. How did he do that?

25 points, 22 rebounds, 3 assists

He’s starting to look scary this early because he literally started from scratch for this game with the guide of the instructions Coach Norman Black is giving them at the huddle. Whom is he gonna pass the ball to once the double team comes? Who can shoot the ball better? He looks like he’s playing like he already knew his teammates. He’s posting up, grabbing boards, barreling his way inside like an American Football bruiser and-one. A little like a smaller version of Kia’s PJ Ramos but with more support from his team.

DENZEL BOWLES (Star Hotshots)

Vintage Super Bowles. The interesting part here is how would he put himself into the new system that Coach Jason Webb is instilling for the team? He excelled in the triangle offense and running the break if there’s a chance. This season, Star is going to run and gun. Is he gonna be gassed out? We will find out.
29 minutes, 20 points, 15 boards, 3 blocks, 3 dunks

¬†That is a respectable number for an import who played less than 30 minutes. He may be adjusting to the new playbook but he seem to be comfortable running the break. There’s more expected to come from him but for this game, he was outplayed and the support from his team wasn’t really there.




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