AS the elimination round heats up, Talk ‘N Text, Rain or Shine and Alaska hope a new import would boost their chance of making it to the eight-team quarterfinal round when they face separate foes today in the 40th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Jong Uichico of Talk ‘N Text wants to field former Atlanta Hawks Ivan Johnson in their game against sister team NLEX Road Warriors at 4:15 p.m. while Rain or Shine will pit veteran Wayne Chism against newcomer Damion James as they tangle in the nightcap at 7 p.m.
Even with a 4-1 win-loss slate for solo second, Uichico replaced reigning Best Import awardee Richard Howell in a surprising move. The 30-year-old Johnson arrived Wednesday and Uichico hopes the import would be allowed to play today.
If given the go-signal by the commissioner’s office, the former NBA D-League Texas standout will have his hands full against also NBA veteran Al Thornton of Nlex Road Warriors.
Johnson, who had an average of 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds with the Hawks during the 2012-2013 season, had a sad experience with his career having been fined an undisclosed amount by the Hawks for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Alex Compton of Alaska, on the other hand, wants to improve its 2-2 record with the 6’7 Damion James, who replaced DJ Covington. The former NBA player James arrived yesterday. He played for 39 games in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets and San Antonio Spurs.
James will be facing come-backing import Wayne Chism, who flew in on Monday to suit up for Rain or Shine and will replace Rick Jackson.