MANILA, Philippines - Meralco import Chamberlain (Champ) Oguchi, the PBA Commissioner’s Cup top scorer averaging 30.7 points, will be back with the Bolts for the third conference, called the Governors Cup, starting June 2 in Dubai.
Two games will kick off the Governors Cup in Dubai on June 2 and 3. Talk ‘N’ Text faces B-Meg on June 2 then battles Barangay Ginebra on June 3. The Manila schedule starts on June 8.
A handicapping system for teams will be applied based on their weighted performance in the Philippine Cup (60 percent) and Commissioner’s Cup (40 percent). Using the formula, the top four ranked teams will be allowed to sign up an import with a height limit of 6-2 – Talk ‘N’ Text, San Miguel Beer, Ginebra and B-Meg. The next four teams – Air21, Alaska, Rain Or Shine and Meralco – will be allowed an import with a ceiling of 6-4.
The No. 9 team Powerade will be allowed an import with a height limit of 6-6. Barako Bull, the league’s 10th team, will reportedly extend its leave of absence pending negotiations for a buyer of the franchise.
The nine PBA teams will play a single round elimination with the top six finishers advancing to the semifinals carrying over their records. The semifinals will be a single round with teams that win four of five gaining a playoff with the No. 2 placer if they don’t land first or second. The top two semifinal survivors move on to dispute the title in a best-of-seven series.
Last Thursday, Oguchi reinforced Meralco in the Bolts’ win over the Qatar Army club, 66-60, in Doha. Meralco left Manila to play exhibitions in Qatar last April 26 and will be back tomorrow.
Oguchi, 25, played six games for Meralco in the Commissioner’s Cup, hitting at least 30 points in three outings with a high of 43. He came in to replace Tony Danridge after the Bolts got off to a 0-3 start. With Oguchi in the lineup, Meralco went 3-3, including an overtime loss to Alaska.
Another Commissioner’s Cup import invited to return is Air21’s Alpha Bangura. Express team manager Allan Gregorio confirmed that Bangura has been offered to stay for the Governors Cup. Bangura bumped off Air21’s original import Geremy Robinson after a 1-2 start and led the Express to the semifinals. Bangura hit at least 40 points in two games.
Alaska coach Tim Cone said the Aces have not decided whom to draft as their import for the third conference but mentioned that Commissioner’s Cup recruit L. D. Williams of Wake Forest University is on standby.
Williams averaged 21.7 points for Alaska in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Cone said Williams’ ejection for elbowing Mac-Mac Cardona in a Meralco game last March 25 was a turning point in their campaign. “It broke our momentum because L. D. was suspended in the next game which we lost,” said Cone. “Before that sit-out, we had won five of seven and our only losses were to Smart Gilas and Talk ‘N’ Text, both in overtime. L. D. was never the same after the ejection. We lost four of our next five games and got eliminated in the quarterfinals.”
Rain Or Shine consultant Andy Jao said NBA veteran Hassan Adams, who suited up for the Elasto Painters in the Commissioner’s Cup, won’t be back. Jao said the team hasn’t decided on an import for the Governors Cup.
Talk ‘N’ Text coach Chot Reyes said the Texters are looking to bring in Quincy Douby of Rutgers University. “We’re trying (to sign him up) but I think he has other plans,” said Reyes.
Douby, 26, was the Sacramento Kings’ first round pick in the 2006 draft after averaging 25.4 points for Rutgers in 2005-06. He has played three years in the NBA with the Kings and Toronto Raptors. The 6-2 Douby earned close to $4 Million in three years in the NBA. This season, he averaged 32 points with the Xinjiang Gyang Hui Flying Tigers in the Chinese league.
Another hot prospect under the radar is 6-2 Curtis Stinson of Iowa State. Stinson, 28, has played in Croatia, Greece and the NBA D-League. This season, he averaged 20.1 points for the Iowa Energy in the NBA D-League. Barangay Ginebra was reportedly interested in Stinson but Kings coach Joseph Uichico said he’s not sure if they can bring him over.
Powerade coach Bo Perasol said the Tigers are considering to hire 6-6 Tasmin Mitchell of Louisana State University. Mitchell played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA pre-season last year. In the NBA D-League this season, he averaged 16.5 points for the Erie Bay Hawks.
Cone said Alaska is willing to release its rights to 6-6 Diamon Simpson but only for the Governors Cup.
“Diamon is still playing in Turkey where he went right after the PBA last season,” said Cone. “So he hasn’t had too much rest. I’m not sure if he’d be willing to come over after Turkey.”
As for his measurement, there’s no question he’s within the 6-6 limit. We measured him in the US, remeasured him when he got in and he passed the PBA measurement test. That’s three times he was measured. It’s unlike Eddie Basden whom we brought in for the Commissioner’s Cup. We didn’t measure him in the US and when he got in, we measured him and he was over the limit. He was measured by the PBA and went over the limit, too.”
Asked if Ginebra will yield its rights to Nate Brumfield in case another team offers to sign him up for the Governors Cup, Uichico said, “maybe not.”