MANILA, Philippines – In the wake of a 2-3 slate in the 2014 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are opting to take a gamble and go for a bigger and more aggressive import.
Rain or Shine will no longer be flanked by Alex McLean when the team next takes the floor on Monday, March 31. In his stead they have hired the services of a new reinforcement in American power forward Wayne Chism.
According to Painters coach Yeng Guiao, their choice was based largely on the size they needed to compliment the team.
“He (Chism) is bigger, he is taller than McLean. That’s something we’re looking for,” Guiao told Rappler. “Size was really a factor in choosing Chism.”
The 6-foot-9 Chism, 26, played college basketball at the University of Tennessee. He has since played in various countries, including the Aix Maurienne Savoie Basket, a ball club in the Pro National Basketball League B, which is a second-tier men’s professional basketball league in France. He also played for a professional basketball league in Hungary.
In one season of 34 games with France’s Aix Maurienne, Chism averaged 10.6 points per contest in an average playing time of 25 minutes, according to the French league’s website. His field goal percentage was at 40.6% and he shot 26% from beyond the arc. He grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game and was an 81% free throw shooter.
McLean ‘not a bad import’
McLean, on the other hand, was steady offensively for Rain or Shine despite an unimpressive win-loss record. He never scored below 18 points in any of the 5 games he played, and he dropped a season-high 33 points against the San Miguel Beermen – all while averaging 34.4 minutes per game, according to pba-online.net.
“McLean is not a bad import. He’s a good import actually. He was making the numbers. He had an outside shot. He was very decent inside,” said Guiao.
The 6-foot-8 McLean was averaging 22.8 points and 15.40 rebounds, also per pba-online.net, up until Wednesday night’s victory over the Meralco Bolts, which turned out to be McLean’s last game for the Painters.
“Actually alam niya na eh (he knows). Nung last game niya (During his last game), he played really well. Although we did not tell him that was the situation, I think he just read it somewhere or baka may nagsabi sa kanya (maybe somebody told him),” Guiao said of the import.
“We appreciate his being a professional and being a gentleman. He never gave us a problem, he was coachable, he was good to the guys.”
(READ: Q&A: Yeng Guiao’s thoughts on their import, first Comms Cup game)
But if McLean is good and is providing steady support to Rain or Shine, why should they let him go and take on Chism?
“There’s a difference between having a good import and having the right type of import for your team,” said Guiao, sharing the thought process behind the team’s decision.
“I just felt like he might not have been the right type of import for the team.”
While Guiao and his team are not certain about how Chism will blend with the team just yet, he says they’re taking a leap of faith with him anyway. Perhaps a drastic move in the middle of the eliminations could spark a change to their trajectory in the Commissioner’s Cup.
According to Guiao, the team’s situation standings-wise is also a major driving force to the decision. Their goal is to win at least 3 of their last 4 games in order to land a better seeding and ultimately avoid elimination altogether.
Taking that into consideration, Guiao says it was a matter of judging which of the two imports can give them a better chance of achieving their objective.
“We’re taking the gamble that Chism could be a better type of import for us,” Guiao said.
“Our judgment, including the coaching staff, is our chances of winning 3 out of the 4 is probably better with Chism than with McLean.”
But heading into the most crucial stretch of a short conference, can Rain or Shine get their import acclimated right away to the style of play and into the team’s system?
“The reason we chose to make the decision now is because we have 3 days before Monday and then after that there’s going to be an All-Star break,” Guiao explained the timing of their decision. “So that’s going to give us time and the opportunity to blend him in.” – Rappler.com
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