MANILA, Philippines – Halfway through the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup, a bunch of imports have already been sent home; others meanwhile, continue to shine and lead their teams to the upper half of the standings. Find out who are the best-performing imports so far in this edition of the Rappler Best Import Ladder.
1. (Last week: 1) Richard Howell, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (–)
22.8 PPG, 21.2 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 56.35 EFF
Howell is still the steadiest import in the race, leading the Texters to a pristine 6-0 start in over 4 weeks of action in the Commissioner’s Cup. Save for assists per game where Jimmy Alapag leads the crew, Howell is Talk ‘N Text’s leader in points, rebounds, steals, and blocks. Whenever you need him to deliver, Howell will like save the day for the Tropa.
2. (Last week: 4) Brian Butch, Meralco Bolts (▲)
27.5 PPG, 21 RPG, 2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.3 BPG, 62.03 EFF
Amid reports that a replacement is already in town for the Meralco import, Brian Butch exploded for 40 points and 31 rebounds against, proving to his squad that he can carry the team. The Bolts are currently above .500 with the help of the Dirk Nowitzki-esque reinforcement who would definitely want to stay longer.
However, due to the flu, Butch eventually sat out and is replaced by Darnell Jackson, a former NBA pro.
3. (Last week: 5) Josh Dollard, Barako Bull Energy (▲)
35.3 PPG, 15.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 61.03 EFF
Dollard has finally delivered in the late game, with a little help from Willie Miller. In their 92-90 conquest of San Mig Coffee, the Barako Bull import sank a huge triple that gave the Energy the lead; he also contained James Mays to just two points in the second half as Barako completed a big comeback and end the slump. He is definitely among the strong contenders for Best Import this conference.
4. (Last week, 9) Kevin Jones, San Miguel Beermen (▲)
27.4 PPG, 15 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 56.72 EFF
Jones is now gelling well with the Beermen and that has been attested by their second-best 5-2 record in the conference so far. Since taking over for Josh Boone, Jones has found the niche with the red and white uniform
5. (Last week: 2) James Mays, San Mig Super Coffee Mixers (▼)
20.5 PPG, 17.8 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, 1 BPG, 48.68 EFF
Mays is an offensive-rebounding machine, averaging 8 offensive boards a game. That’s 8 extra possessions for the Mixers. While he is not the most prolific import in town, Mays’ hard work will most likely take him and the San Mig Coffee crew to the next round.
6. (Last week: 7) Evan Brock, Globalport Batang Pier (▲)
27.3 PPG, 20.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1 BPG, 59.93 EFF
Brock remains a solid force underneath for the Batang Pier, but still, his efforts alone are not enough to lead Globalport to victory. The Mikee Romero-owned franchise is now in the cellar of the standings, still winless after six games.
7. (Last week: 6) Rob Dozier, Alaska Aces (▼)
21.3 PPG, 14.8 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 2.8 BPG, 52.2 EFF
While the Best Import award may already be out of the equation for Rob Dozier, he would still want his Aces to regain the Commissioner’s Cup trophy. Dozier averaged 21.5 points and hauled down 15 rebounds in Alaska’s last two games – both wins – to keep the Aces’ playoff aspirations alive.
8. (Last week: NA) Wesley Witherspoon, Air21 Express
34.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1 APG, 2 SPG, 57.49 EFF
Air21 replaced Herve Lamizana with the hopes of getting a better scoring import, and Witherspoon came just to do that. Through two games, the EuroLeague and NBA D-League veteran averaged 34.5 points already, showing people a glimpse of what he can do to lead the Express.
Rain or Shine’s Alex McLean, Air21’s Herve Lamizana, and Ginebra’s Leon Rodgers have been replaced over the last two weeks by Wayne Chism, Wesley Witherspoon, and Josh Powell, respectively. The Express looked for a more offensive-minded import in Witherspoon, Rain or Shine went to a more athletic Chism, while Rodgers has been kicked out along with all the drama surrounding the Ginebra crew this conference.