With the Commissioner’s Cup nearing its tip-off, we take a look at some of the imports that will be bannering the teams.
Yesterday, we took a look at the imports of Mahindra, NLEX, Rain or Shine and Meralco. Today, we will be looking at some more. We have a returning import and two former NBA players, all hoping to lead their respective teams to the same goal – the championship.
Let’s meet the imports of the Phoenix Fuel Masters, the Blackwater Elite and the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
Eugene Phelps – Phoenix Fuel Masters
The Phoenix Fuel Masters started 2016 Governor’s Cup losing three straight games. They were in dire need of some saving grace. That’s when they turned to Eugene Phelps. And in his very first PBA game, against GlobalPort, Eugene lost a tooth. But he also dropped 52 points and had 16 rebounds.
Phelps was nothing short of a beast in his first PBA stint. He was the most dominant force in that conference. That’s why he was called The Destroyer. He averaged 36.4 points, 19.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists while shooting 51 percent from the field.
But here’s the catch. That was the Governor’s Cup. Imports were shorter. He was able to use his strength to bully other reinforcements down low. Now, in a conference where the height cap is 6’10”, it might be a different story for Phelps. Might.
In the 10 games that Eugene played in the PBA, he went 3-for-17 from beyond the arc. It’s the one facet of his game that could use some improvement. That’s what Phoenix would want to see as they put Phelps up against taller opponents.
There’s another catch. He doesn’t have much time. Even before the conference even started, Phelps’ time with Phoenix had already been cut short. He will only serve as a stand-in import as he will have to attend to an earlier commitment in Puerto Rico.
Greg Smith – Blackwater Elite
Like most imports we’ve seen in the PBA, Greg Smith also went undrafted in the NBA. However, unlike most, he found a way to earn himself a spot on a team’s regular rotation. In the 2012-13 NBA season, Smith actually played 70 games for the Houston Rockets. That season, he averaged 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds in roughly 16 minutes per game.
What am I trying to get at? The fact that this dude is legit NBA material. At least, he used to be.
Four years since that stint with the Rockets, Smith finds himself out of the NBA. And in what could be another similarity with other imports, his long road back to the big league makes a stop here in the PBA.
Smith is an inside force, particularly on the offensive end. He has a lot of moves up his sleeve. You want him to post up? Sure. Start from top of the key and put the ball on the floor? He’s got that too. And he can finish with a dunk, a hook and even a contested jumper.
Blackwater has a bunch of talented guards and wingmen on their roster. But what they truly lack is a dependable big that can post some threat on the scoring end. That’s what they get with Greg Smith.
Sean Williams – GlobalPort Batang Pier
With all the talks of GlobalPort refusing to release Jarrid Famous to the Phoenix Fuel Masters, you’d think it’s because they wanted to get him. But no, the Batang Pier will be working with former New Jersey Nets member Sean Williams.
As he enters a team with an obvious hole in the middle, a lot will be expected form the 17th overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft.
GlobalPort doesn’t necessarily need a scoring import. They have the best points producer in the league in Terrence Romeo. They’ve got Stanley Pringle to help him out. Then you get some more from Niño Canaleta and JR Quiñahan. What they really need is a guy who can hold down the fort. Someone who can bang bodies with other bigs and become a solid pick and roll or drop pass option.
With a rich background that boasts of stints in the NBA, the NBA D-League, China, Israel and Puerto Rico, Williams is an experienced player that should be able to help GlobalPort. He may be one of the older imports at 30-years-old, but that shouldn’t limit his contributions and his effectiveness an the Neon Nation’s reinforcement.