17 August 2015

Disciplinary Measures May Be Imposed on Al-Hussaini

Rabeh Al-Hussaini
"Sa presinto ka mag paliwanag." This is the clear message that Meralco wants to tell former center Rabeh Al-Hussaini after they signed him for a 1-year contract.

The Bolts and Al-Hussaini are also planning a meeting with the PBA Commissioner – though team manager Paolo Trillo didn’t specify whether it would be Chito Salud or incoming new commissioner Chito Narvasa – for the 27-year-old big man to air his side of the story.

"He has to visit the commissioner. We’re trying to schedule a meet with the commissioner so we can air and explain his side," said Trillo to the online news site Rappler, who mentioned that the Bolts and their returning player are going to accept whatever sanctions the Commissioner’s Office may impose.

With regards to Al-Hussaini's performance on the court and determination, Trillo said Bolts fans can expect a motivated version of him the upcoming season.

"He's in good shape right now. He looks the same as when he left, although he's been working out regularly. I think the long off-season will give him time to get in game shape," said the team manager.

"He looks determined to come back and prove himself based from our talks with him. He's already apologized to management. He knows he has to prove himself all over again, and he's willing to do that."

Trillo also said that it was Al-Hussaini who insisted on a one-year deal so he can prove himself first before asking for a longer deal.

The Bolts recently traded for PBA star Jimmy Alapag, who's coming out of retirement and switching from being Talk 'N Text's team manager to Meralco’s leader on the floor and guiding voice - a task he will share with head coach Norman Black.

Al-Hussaini, who was coached by Black in Ateneo where the two won two UAAP championships in 2008 and 2009, is expected to remedy one of Meralco’s weak points: their lack of big man depth.

"Obviously, one of the problems we had with last year was the size factor," said Trillo. "Definitely, he'll give us help. Rabeh will come in as the biggest player we have. Definitely he’ll be a part of what we’re doing this year."

When asked if Al-Hussaini's return meant veteran Danny Ildefonso would not get a new contract with the Bolts, Trillo said that decision still hasn’t been decided.

"Actually what happens right now is guys are all competing for positions," said the team manager.

"I’m not really saying he's not coming back, although we just let go of James Sena. We traded two players to get Jimmy (Mike Cortez was the other one). It depends on how things work out."

After a fruitful first season that saw him average 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds a game with Air21 and Petron - good enough to win him Rookie of the Year - Al-Hussaini's numbers saw a dip in production.

In his second year his averages dropped to 5.9 points and 2.9 rebounds a contest while having to deal with a torn ACL injury that sidelined him.

Before leaving the Bolts for Kuwait, he averaged 5 points and 5 rebounds a contest in 23 games.

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