28 July 2015

Al-Hussaini Back in The Bolts Roster

Rabeh Al-Hussaini
Last year, Meralco Bolts center Rabeh Al-Hussaini requested time away from his team to fix his papers and get his pension from Kuwait. He left in early May 2014, and was supposed to be gone for only 10 days. However, about 23 days has passed and Al-Hussaini has yet to return.

Recently, the former Ateneo big man was reported to back and is raring for a PBA comeback with the coach that brought out the best in him during a checkered college career, Meralco coach Norman Black.

"Rabeh is back from Kuwait so we are hoping we can join us this upcoming season," Black, who has one of the shortest frontlines in the league, told Spin.ph. "We can use the size."

It will be remembered that after Al-Hussaini got permission to return to his father's homeland and work on his citizenship papers he ended up staying in Kuwait for a much longer period. there were no reasons given, but according to a source close to 2010 Rookie of the Year, a reason for this former his absence may be due to a standing offer for him to play for the Kuwait national basketball team.

Another source, who had spent time with Al-Hussaini off the court in the past and prefers to remain anonymous, also added that certain problems between the troubled big man and his former head coach (Ryan Gregorio) may have lead to Rabeh taking the offer from the Kuwait team. According to him, "Rabeh and his coach have gotten into a couple disagreements."

Whatever the real reason is, which may be reported any time soon, there is no doubt that Al-Hussaini will be a vital cog in the Bolts' campaign next season.

The 6-foot-7 center won two UAAP championships with the Blue Eagles, a reign that saw Al-Hussaini win season and Finals MVP honors before making the jump to the PBA as the No. 2 pick overall of the 2010-2011 season behind college teammate Noy Baclao.

Al-Hussaini had an outstanding freshman campaign – he was later on traded to Petron (now San Miguel) late in the season – averaging 14.2 PPG and 6.9 RPG to win the 2009-2010 PBA Rookie of the Year award.

However, his career hasn’t taken off and he's been bugged with injuries ever since.

Black and Al-Hussaini spent a brief time together at Talk 'N Text and is understandably excited about another reunion.

"I will work out with him this week," said Black. "I'm sure we will be able to get him in shape before the start of the PBA season in October."

Though Al-Hussaini's contract with Meralco has lapsed during his absence, the Bolts still hold the rights to the big man.

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