Petron Blaze picks Clippers standout for Governors Cup

by Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star)

Posted at May 30 2011 08:35 AM | Updated as of May 30 2011 04:35 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Petron Blaze (formerly San Miguel Beer) had a change of heart in its import choice for the coming PBA Governors Cup, opting to bring in former Los Angeles Clipper Michael Rene “Mike” Taylor instead of original prospect Ricky Harris.

Meanwhile, the Joe Devance-JayR Reyes trade may finally get the approval of commissioner Chito Salud after Air21 added future picks in the deal.

Salud nixed the original one-on-one trade proposal, finding it lopsided in favor of Air21.

Obviously, Petron considered Taylor’s better credentials in junking Harris.

Taylor, a 6-foot-2 guard from Iowa State, was drafted 55th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, becoming the first player in NBA history to be drafted out of the D-League.

The Chicago, Illinois native was with the Idaho Stampede when picked by the Blazers, using draft rights acquired in a trade deal with the Phoenix Suns and the Indiana Pacers.

Acquired by the LA Clippers through another trade on draft night, Taylor went on to strut his stuff with the Clippers in the 2008-09 NBA season, averaging 5.7 points, 2.1 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 51 outings.

Taylor was a fan favorite at LA with his outstanding leaping ability and creative dunks.

He made a career-best 35 points versus the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden on March 25, 2009.

After being waived by the Clippers, Taylor signed up with the Red Star Belgrade team in the Serbian league.

Then he returned to the D-League with the Iowa Energy.

Before starring for Iowa State with a team-best average of 16 points per game in 2006-07, Taylor spent the first three years of his collegiate career with Chipola College.

Harris, meanwhile, churned out a sterling collegiate career with the University of Massachusetts, piling up 1,960 points to finish at third place (ahead of Marcus Camby with 1,387 and Julius Erving with 1,370) in the school’s all-time scoring ladder.

He also wound up second in career three-pointers made (276), third in field-goal attempts (1,534), fourth in steals (148), fifth in career games (129) and sixth in career free throws (398).

Harris, who twice made the Atlantic 10 Third Team, finished with collegiate career averages of 18.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals.

The Petron coaching staff, however, decided they would be better off with Taylor.