17 May 2016

Arinze Onuaku Bags Best Import Award

Arinze Onuaku
Even if the recipient is not in the country anymore, Meralco Bolts coach is confident who deserves the Bobby Parks Best Import award in the PBA Commissioner's Cup: Arinze Onuaku.

During the 13 May Game Four Finals between Rain or Shine and Alaska at the Araneta Coliseum, Black received the award on behalf of Onuaku.

"Who else would have won it?" said Black in reply if he was surprised the 28-year-old import won the award. "If it is the Best Import award, it's you making your teammates better. We we’re 1-10 last conference. And he’s the only player that we recruited. I don’t know any import who should have won it."

The Bolts bowed to the Aces, 3-2 in their tightly-contested semifinal series a few weeks ago.

The 29-year-old Onuaku, who played for Syracuse in college, amassed 1132 total statistical points to easily nose out Henderson-Niles, who had 871 and Rob Dozier’s 692.

His total SPs can be broken down to 555 stats, 452 media votes, 50 player votes and 75 from the PBA.

Onuaku has undoubtedly played a big role for the Bolts, helping the 6-year-old PBA franchise improve from last place in the Philippine Cup to the no. 1-ranked squad entering the playoffs.

Onuaku was the only import to play the entire conference for his team all the way to the semifinals.

Dozier also falls in the same breath, but a plantar fasciitis he suffered at the start of the conference limited his number of games with the Aces.

San Miguel's Tyler Wilkerson was the consensus choice to win it all, until his temper got the better of him, eventually leading to his banishment from the team - and his disqualification from the Best Import race.

But Onuaku certainly made a case for himself, carrying the Bolts on his broad shoulder all-conference long, and came just a win short of making a first ever final trip for the franchise.

"I'm very happy for him. I think he played a big role in our turnaround this conference, from 1-10 (last conference) to 11-6. So he definitely was big part of that," stressed Black, himself a two-time recipient of the Best Import award.

"His inside presence, interior defense, his rebounding and his ability to score around the basket at a high percentage really helped us a great deal this conference. I'm very happy for him."

The power-playing Onuaku averaging 18.7 points, 17.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, while he led the league in field goal percentage after getting majority of his shots near the basket.

The great work the former Syracuse stalwart did for Meralco certainly deserves him a second chance with the team next year, according to Black.

"Definitely we would be looking for him and see what he's doing next year," said the multi-titled coach, who now counts Onuaku a part of his long list of players who won the Best Import award, along with Parks, Kenny Travis, Ansu Sesay, and Damian Owens.

"A lot of time when we recruit imports, it's not whether what he did this year, it’s what he’s doing when the next conference comes around. If he’s ready to play, is he in shape, is he's still playing, is he playing at a high level, because these things are very important," said the Meralco mentor.

"But basically this conference, he deserves another chance."

Black added Onuaku, who had stint with Cleveland and Minnesota in the NBA, is aware he won the Best Import award and will be more than glad to have his plaque shipped all the way from Manila to the U.S.

The Meralco coach and Onuaku’s representative Sheryl Reyes, were more than willing to do the chore, except for one problem – the import’s name was spelled Arinze Onuaka in the plaque.

The PBA already vowed to do an immediate correction.

No comments:

Post a Comment