subscribe: Posts | Comments

Meralco eyes ‘big import’ to team up with Durham in Fiba Asia Champions Cup

Meralco eyes ‘big import’ to team up with Durham in Fiba Asia Champions Cup

MERALCO is on the lookout for a big import to team up with Allen Durham as the team braces for what coach Norman Black referred to as a ‘tough’ campaign in the 27th FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Thailand.

The Bolts are scrambling to sign up another reinforcement after learning on short notice that they will be representing the country in the Sept. 27 to Oct. 2 tournament featuring champion clubs from the continent.

“We’re in the process of trying to get a big import to help support Allen Durham and the rest of the team because we know the competition is going to be quite tough and we know that they’re (teams) going to be very big,” said Black.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get a guy in here in the next three days and be able to come in and help us.”

The Meralco mentor though, disclosed the team is not bringing back former Best Import Arinze Onuaku and instead, is looking to tap a new face to bolster the team’s campaign of becoming the first Philippine squad to win the meet after Hapee Toothpaste in 1996.

“It’s going to be tough. So it’s very important for us to get a very good big man to go along with AD so at least we could match up size-wise because Meralco is one of the smallest teams in the PBA,” said Black.

Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas represented the country in the meet last year and finished fifth.

Black noted the Bolts will be up against what he referred to as ‘the San Miguel (team)’ of each country.

The field includes Liaoning Flying Leopards (China), Seoul SK Knights (Korea), Alvark Tokyo (Japan), Pauian Archiland (Chineset Taipei), Mono Vampire (Thailand), Sporting Al-Riyadi (Lebanon), and Petrochimi Bandar Imam (Iran).

Al-Riyadi is a two-time winner of the annual tournament and is the defending champion while Liaoning Flying Leopards and Petrochimi Bandar Imam are former champions.

“So you’re talking about tough competition, probably the best club teams of that particular country,” stressed the champion coach.

Apart from the Champions Cup, the Bolts are also preoccupied with their campaign in the PBA Governors Cup, making it a double duty for the franchise.

Before leaving for Bangkok, Meralco will still have one game to play against Phoenix on Sept. 19 when the season-ending meet resumes after the two-week break from the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

But Black isn’t complaining.

“But it feels good to represent the country again, It feels good that you are representing the entire Filipinos,” said Black, who was the national coach during the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan.