PBA Governors' Cup

NLEX braces for worst amid Jonathon Simmons’ overseas offers: ‘We cannot stop him from leaving’

Delfin Dioquino
NLEX braces for worst amid Jonathon Simmons’ overseas offers: ‘We cannot stop him from leaving’

NBA CALIBER. Jonathon Simmons impressed in his PBA debut for NLEX.

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Jonathon Simmons' stint with NLEX may end up a short one as he received an offer to play in the Chinese Basketball Association, where imports earn significantly higher

MANILA, Philippines – NLEX head coach Frankie Lim said he is not getting in the way of import Jonathon Simmons if he decides to leave the Road Warriors for greener pastures.

Simmons’ stint with NLEX in the PBA Governors’ Cup may end up a short one as he received an offer to play in the Chinese Basketball Association, where pay for imports like him – a former NBA player at that – is significantly higher.

“When he told me that he has to go to China to play, I told him, ‘Finish first your contract here. Maybe you can give us four wins before you leave.’ [But] I cannot stop him,” said Lim in Filipino.

“A lot of money is involved.”

Simmons came in with the most impressive credentials among this batch of imports, having played for the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic, and Philadelphia 76ers over a span of four NBA seasons.

In 258 games, he averaged 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists.

He proved his mettle for the Road Warriors in his PBA debut, churning out 32 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals in a 124-102 blowout of Blackwater on Wednesday, January 25.

“It is hard especially if you really like the import. It hurts,” Lim said. “It is hard. But life goes on. You need to be able to deal with these kind of situations. We cannot stop him from leaving. Just get another one. That is the only solution.”

Lim said new team manager Larry Fonacier is in the process of bringing in a new import.

“We’re looking at somebody else to replace [Simmons]. But when he will be here is all up to Larry.”

NLEX, though, holds on to the slim possibility of Simmons having a change of heart and deciding to reinforce the Road Warriors for the long run.

“There is a chance that he might stay longer. That was what I was told earlier. That changes every six hours,” Lim quipped.

NLEX eyes a 2-0 start as it battles NorthPort on Saturday, January 28, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.