Alaska's Robert Dozier puts up a shot over Barako Bull's Evan Brock. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – The Alaska Aces are happy to welcome back import Rob Dozier to the fold even as head coach Luigi Trillo admitted that there are both pros and cons to bringing back the reigning Commissioner’s Cup Best Import.
Dozier was a vital part of Alaska’s run to the title in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup, their first championship in the post-Tim Cone era.
“He gave us an 18-4 record, which is the second best in franchise history in 26 years,” Trillo said in an interview with the league website. “Not only that he’s a good player, but he’s a good person.” [http://pba.inquirer.net/42200/old-ace-up-alaskas-sleeve]
“We’re just thankful that he’s given us an opportunity to come back,” he said.
Trillo said there were advantages to bringing Dozier back, especially given his familiarity with the Alaska system.
“It’s an advantage because he knows the system and he knows the players,” Trillo said of Dozier.
“(But) it’s a disadvantage, because the people know him also,” the coach pointed out. “They really respect his game. When they come in here, they’re really ‘ganado’ when they play him.”
“You weigh it all in, and it’s all relative, really,” he said.
Trillo also revealed that Dozier has not played competitive basketball in over a year, yet came to the country in great shape as a testament to his discipline and hard work.
“To the other players, two to three weeks or a month is really a lot already. For him, not playing for ten months and he’s coming, and he’s ready to play,” said Trillo.
“I think he needed to refresh also. He’s been playing overseas for a long time, but I’m just impressed that he doesn’t look out of shape. He’s in good condition,” he added.
Trillo said they were considering other imports before they were told that Dozier was available to play. They eventually chose to go with the tried-and-tested former Memphis Tiger.
“When he made himself available for us, to me, he worked his way up. It’s nice to see him coming in here and fitting in, and being a part of the team once again. There are a lot of imports who came here and who have probably better talent, but I’m just amazed at how hard he works,” Trillo said.
Alaska opens its defense of the Commissioner’s Cup title against Talk ‘N Text on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.