ALEX Stepheson renews his ties with Blackwater as the towering import is set to reinforce the team anew in the East Asia Super League Terrific 12 next month.
Board of governor Siliman Sy confirmed on Wednesday the 6-foot-11 Stepheson will be on board for the Elite in the Sept. 17-22 tournament in Macau.
Stepheson suited up for the Elite in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup but failed to complete his stint as he made an emergency return to the US due to constant stomach ache caused by intestinal bacteria.
Blackwater won its first five games in the mid-season conference with Stepheson around behind his 22.0 points and 22.0 rebounds average.
But the Elite struggled following his departure although they still managed to finish as the no. 3 seed team heading to the playoffs after signing up Stephan Blair, and later on former import Greg Smith as Stepheson’s replacement.
They eventually fell in the first round against sixth seed Rain or Shine, losing in the decisive Game Three of their series, 85-83.
The 32-year-old Stepheson is set to arrive in the country on Sept.2, according to Sy.
Still to be determined is Stepheson’s import partner for the week-long meet, where teams are allowed to field two reinforcements.
Henry Walker, the team’s import in the past two editions of the season-ending Governors Cup, won’t likely join Blackwater this time as he’s currently signed for a long contract playing in Japan.
Sy said Blackwater is now looking to tap the services instead of a former PBA import to play for the Elite in both the Asia League and the PBA’s third conference.
TnT Katropa and San Miguel are expected to join Blackwater as the country’s official representative in the Macau meet sanctioned by FIBA and features top Asian ballclubs from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), BLeague (Japan), Korean Basketball League (KBL), Super Basketball League (Chinese Taipei), and the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).