MANILA, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra is bringing in two-time PBA Best Import winner Gabe Freeman to take over from Leon Rodgers in the team’s hopes of averting further skid in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Team sources said Freeman, a champion import in the PBA and in the Asean Basketball League, is flying in at the latest Wednesday, ahead of the Kings’ crucial game against the Globalport Batang Pier Friday.
The Kings are now in precarious situation, having lost two of their first three games in the short one-round elimination phase.
The management and the coaching staff have apparently decided they could go nowhere with Rodgers.
Rodgers has proved to be a real scorer, but that’s because of his being a ball hog to the detriment of his teammates and the team
“The flow of the play stops with him. The locals can’t get into the groove because the ball is always in Rodgers’ hands,” a team insider said.
“And he shies away from contact, opting for lower-percentage shots from the outside,” the source added.
Numbers don’t lie.
On Sunday against San Mig Coffee, Rodgers scored 35 points as he accounted for 33 of the team’s 69 field attempts. LA Tenorio had the second most number of attempts with 11.
A week before against San Miguel Beer, he scored 33 points on 34 tries.
The Kings are now hoping Freeman to be their savior.
Freeman’s drawback is he will be the shortest import at 6-foot-5.
“But he’s very familiar with the PBA and the brand of play in the league. He’s done that before. We’re hopeful he can cope,” said The STAR source.
He had a short tour of duty with Barako Bull in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup featuring imports of unlimited height.
The prolific Mesa Community College product took the league by storm in the 2009 Fiesta Conference, leading San Miguel Beer to the championship.
He emerged Best Import winner in that tourney and then again in the same conference the following year where the Beermen lost to the Alaska Milk Aces in the finals.
A little later, Freeman led the Philippine Patriots to a successful title run in the initial ABL season.
He’s wiser at 28 as he suits up with the Ginebra Kings.