MANILA, Philippines – As a PBA Philippine Cup finals appearance remained elusive for Meralco, the Bolts turn their hopes to the next import conference.
Head coach Norman Black expressed optimism as Meralco tapped former NBA player Johnny O’Bryant III as their reinforcement for the Commissioner’s Cup.
O’Bryant played four seasons in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, and Charlotte Hornets.
“What we normally try to do… is we get somebody who is solid. Because it is hard to hit a home run and get a superstar from the NBA who is going to come to the Philippines. That does not always happen every day,” Black said.
“So we just want to get a solid player, somebody who we know is good offensively, defensively, who can rebound the basketball.”
A veteran forward who has played for clubs in Serbia, Russia, Korea, Israel, and Turkey, O’Bryant is expected to plug the Bolts’ gaping hole in the middle, a problem that has plagued the squad in its multiple playoff heartbreaks.
In the All-Filipino semifinals, Meralco managed to go the distance against San Miguel in their best-of-seven series but ultimately got dominated by star big man June Mar Fajardo.
The Bolts provided no answers for six-time MVP Fajardo, who posted a semifinals-high 29 points to go with 14 rebounds as the Beermen coasted to a 100-89 Game 7 win on Wednesday, August 17.
“We want a guy who can also play in the paint, because that is really our weakness. So, I think we hit a homerun with this guy. But we’ll wait and see,” said Black.
O’Bryant saw action in 147 NBA games and averaged 3.5 points and 2.4 rebounds.
“We’ll wait until the games start, but I think we got a good one,” Black added.
Meralco gets a month to show O’Bryant the PBA ropes before the Commissioner’s Cup tips off on September 21.– Rappler.com