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NLEX import Alexander proves worth, avoids ax

MANILA, Philippines – Kwame Alexander is safe with the NLEX Road Warriors for now.

The 24-year old American import played with a sense of urgency and a resolve to prove his worth on Tuesday, June 2 to help the Road Warriors pull off an upset of the Alaska Aces, 113-102, in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup.

Faced with the possibility of being sent home, Alexander finished with 28 points, including 9 in the pivotal fourth, along with 11 rebounds and two blocks as NLEX snapped a two-game slide and improved to 2-4.

“That’s why we and me played a lot harder because the team, I believe they like me and they did not want me to leave,” said the high-flying import. “It was more of a sense of urgency for them and for me. I thank the team for that, for sticking with me.”

Alexander’s job hung in the balance following a close loss at the hands of Talk ’N Text last week, where he, according to NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez, did not follow instructions.

“We talked to him last time about the situation that happened against Talk ’N Text. We were really in the game but he missed all 4 shots,” Fernandez explained.

“We instructed him to really attack the basket. That’s what I told him in the game against Talk ’N Text but he kept shooting the perimeter shot and even the three-point shot one time.”

Alexander scored 22 points and collected 16 rebounds that night. 

It’s been reported that former Barako Bull import Joshua Dollard is waiting in the wings in case management decides to swing the ax. 

“I told him he really has to show a lot of energy to the fact that we took him from Greece knowing his energy is so high. That he can bring much energy and intensity to this team. We explained it to him,” Fernandez said.

But because of his redeeming performance Tuesday night, Alexander won’t be packing his bags just yet. 

“I think with the way he played tonight, for sure management will give him another chance,” Fernandez said. 

“We’re thinking about it (replacing Alexander), but right now with the way he played mahirap naman yung nanalo pero papalitan mo (we can’t just switch imports when we won). He gave himself a chance to stay and hopefully he knows how important he is in this team.”

Alexander, who previously played in Greece as well as in South Korea, is averaging 24 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks this conference.

“It's a good thing we won and I might stay a little longer [and bring] more excitement to the league. I think I do that every game,” Alexander expressed his relief. “But business is business. But I believe I've proven [myself]. Hopefully it carries over.” – Rappler.com