Giant NBA vet must deliver, Rain or Shine

Posted at 01/30/13 4:10 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Rain or Shine assistant coach Caloy Garcia yesterday said it’s not easy to pin all their hopes on their 7-foot-3 import for the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

“It will still depend on how the import will fit in,” said Garcia during the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate where he was joined by his counterparts from Meralco, Petron and defending champion San Mig Coffee.

Well, it’s not easy for someone as big, as hefty as Bruno Sundov to fit in to any team. But in practice it seems he’s been proving his worth.

“So far in practice he’s been dominant. He is a team player, a good passer and he can shoot. But you can only gauge that in tune-up games,” added Garcia.

The conference starts on Feb. 8 and yet the Elasto Painters have yet to play any tune-up match with any of the nine other competing teams.

The first tune-up match, Garcia added, may come this week.

Sundov, 32, who arrived in the country two weeks ago, is a second-round draftee of the Dallas Mavericks in 1998, and also played for Indiana, Boston, Cleveland and New York until 2005.

But he has yet to really draw the attention of the other teams.

“Right now we’re still focusing on the conditioning our own players,” said Meralco’s Patrick Fran who decribed their own import, 6-foot-9 Eric Dawson, as someone “who can post up and shoot from mid-range.”

Koy Banal of San Mig said the same, adding that they will only put Sundov in their minds when it’s time to face Rain or Shine in the conference with imports of unlimited height.

“We’re not thinking of the other teams yet. The best thing for us to do right now is to help our import and newcomers adopt in the system of coach Tim Cone. San Mig will have Matt Rogers as import.

Gie Abanilla of Petron echoed the sentiments of the others.

“Ganun din. Bago namin problemahin yun, bakod muna namin ang nililinis namin (Before we worry about them, we worry about our own turf first).

“There are things to be done and we will worry about them later on,” said Abanilla, confident that their import, Renaldo Balkman, can take them far this conference.

“He’s 6’7” or 6’8” and he’s very agile, very athletic. He played for Puerto Rican national team,” he said.

The other imports for the Commissioner’s Cup are Keith Denson of Talk N Text, Michael Dunigan of Air 21, Justin Williams of Globalport, Evan Brock of Barako Bull, Herbert Hill of Ginebra and Robert Dozier of Alaska.

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