• Bolts tap ex-NBA center

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    After a dismal Philippine Cup campaign, Meralco is pinning its hopes on former National Basketball Association (NBA) slotman Alex Stepheson for the coming Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup.

    The six-foot-10 Stepheson played college ball at North Carolina (2006 to 2008) and University of Southern California (2009-2011) and was undrafted in 2011 in the NBA.

    But the 29-year old center had a brief stint with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies last NBA season before bringing his acts to the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) with the Guangzhou Long Lions where he averaged 12.2 points and 10.3 rebounds this CBA season.

    After a runner-up finish in last season’s Governors’ Cup through a loss against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the finals, Meralco fell flat in this season’s Philippine Cup with a 3-8 win-loss record to miss the playoffs.

    Head Coach Norman Black did not waste time in preparing the Bolts in the mid-season conference with the acquisition of free agent Chris Lutz and the signing of Stepheson, who was pursued by the team last season but failed.

    Stepheson also had stints in Greece, Slovenia and Turkey and is expected to provide the inside presence for Meralco in the Commissioner’s Cup.

    The Bolts’ import could be one of the few new faces in the coming conference as some of the teams opted for the old ones.

    Phoenix tapped balik-import reinforcement Jarrid Famous, who had stints with Petron, Meralco and GlobalPort.

    Wayne Chism is also returning this time for NLEX. Chism played for Yeng Guiao at Rain or Shine last season before the latter decided to sign with the Road Warriors this season.

    Former Star import Denzel Bowles will beef up Philippine Cup semifinalist TNT KaTropa.

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