10 July 2017

Will The Asian Imports Be Back As Well?

It may time for the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) to shelve the laudable idea of hiring Asian imports for the season-ending Governor's Cup.

It was announced recently that PBA schedule runs counter to the FIBA Asia, which make it hard to find a quality imports in the Asian circuit.

The league’s final conference of the season kicks off on 19 July and is expected to be run into the schedule of the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon, where the top national teams in the region including Gilas Pilipinas are seeing action from 8-20 August.

Formerly known as the FIBA Asia Men’s Championship, the tournament has been renamed after it merged with the FIBA Oceania Championship and will now be held every four years similar to the EuroBasket, AfroBaket, and Americas Championship.

"Medyo gahol na rin kasi ang mga teams to scout for Asian imports lalo na next month na rin yung Fiba Asia Cup," Willie Marcial, the PBA communications and external affairs head, said to Spin.ph last 7 July.

The league began employing Asian imports during the 2015 Governors Cup under the chairmanship of TnT Katropa alternate governor Patrick Gregorio. The innovation allowed the teams to have the option of fielding Asian players for imports not standing above 6-foot-3.

Among the celebrated Asian players to see action in the league the past two years were Sam Daghles of Jordan, Syrian scoring machine Michael Madanly, Japanese Seiya Endo, Omar Krayem and Imad Qahwash of Palestine, Lebanon’s Rodrigue Akl, and the Iranian duo of Iman Zandi and Mohammed Jamshidi.

However, no one among them managed to make it to the finals, much more win a championship.

Madanly was the closest to reach the championship round as TnT Katropa made to the semis of the tournament last year, only to lose in four games to sister team Meralco.

The Bolts did make a first ever finals appearance last season, but advanced with Jamshidi no longer in their roster.

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