AMERICAN import Chris Charles said he was out to prove that he's worthy of another shot at the PBA.
Not long after, he backed up his words.
After exploding for 25 points and 19 rebounds in leading Hi-Tech Bangkok to a lopsided win over host Pilipinas MX3 Kings in the ABL on Sunday night, the seven-footer said he hopes he had driven home his points.
“That’s one of my career goals, to get back here and play on that level. I definitely would love a shot in the PBA. I wanted to play in the PBA, period,” Charles told Spin.ph.
A six-year veteran of the ABL, Charles' first foray into the local pro league was one he would rather forget. He was brought in by expansion team Blackwater two months before the tournament, but never got to play a single game because of a hamstring injury that took so long to heal.
Even before he could be fit again, he was replaced at Blackwater by former Gilas naturalized player Marcus Douthit.
“I wanted to play. I definitely wanted to play (then), but that’s how it is even in the Philippines, if you are not able to perform, it’s a business, they gotta replace you,” recalled Charles. "I didn’t get a chance for the Filipinos to see me play."
Charles admitted there were doubts about his injury.
“They (Blackwater management) gave me some leeway. They said, ‘We’ll give you some time to heal, but it took longer than what we expected.' And I think they thought that I was faking it (injury),” he said.
Charles insisted it was untrue.
“It was tumultuous, that’s how the business is sometimes. A lot of bad things is said (against you), but those things are untrue,” he said.
Charles claimed he was already close to being back healthy during the last month of Blackwater’s campaign in the second conference when he was given the boot.
“I still wanted to play but they released me already. So I got upset. They brought in a (new) man (Douthit), and they said they’re keeping him. But they said they were giving me some leeway and then they changed it. That’s how it goes, man,” he said.
Charles is not back at the forefront of Bangkok City’s impressive campaign in the ABL where he averages 23 points and 17 rebounds a game - numbers which he hopes would attract the attention of PBA teams.
“I love the Philippines and I know how passionate they are for basketball, their passion in life, and everything, I just love it,” he said.
“I am very happy to be back. This is one of my favorite countries to play in. Basketball is phenomenal here, I understand how big it is here. So it’s always good to be back,” he said.
Asked if he harbored ill feelings toward Blackwater, Charles shook his head.
“There’s no bad blood for me. I had a lot of friends from Blackwater who are still there, some of the coaching staff, (conditioning coach) John Aquino, a lot of the players, no bad blood,” he said.
See video of interview with Chris Charles: