ALASKA coach Alex Compton is hoping Antonio Campbell can play like and last as long as the one who recommended him to be the Aces’ import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup that opens on April 22.
Campbell came in highly recommended by Alaska’s legendary resident reinforcement, Sean Chambers, who led the franchise to six championships, including a grand slam in 1996.
“That would be great. I would love that,” Compton said after the Aces’ tune-up game against TNT KaTropa. “That’s always your hope – get a young import that he’s a guy that can keep coming back.”
The 23-year-old Campbell flashed his potential with his outside shooting and back-to-the-basket game as he registered 29 points to lead the Aces to a 106-97 victory over a depleted Texters side.
Playing overseas for the first time, the 6-foot-9 Campbell will definitely be sought after by Asian league scouts who are always looking for American big men.
“What’s really difficult now is Tony is a guy that has some good skillset that it might be, if he doesn’t get in the NBA, the Korean league’s coming after him and offer him big money because he can shoot well and play inside, and the Korean league loves that,” Compton said of the Ohio product who went undrafted in the 2017 NBA Draft.
“It might be China goes, ‘This guy can play’ and offers him really big money,” he added. “Now you go to players’ availability.”
If Campbell proves both good and available, Compton will be a happy man.
“For me, if we could get a guy who’s a high-character guy, smart, and can learn and grow, it will make my life a lot better if we have a Sean Chambers-type of import who keeps coming back and winning championships,” Compton said.
The Alaska coach can still see some aspects that Campbell, including his inside game, can work on ahead of his PBA debut, although he can already feel that their import is fundamentally sound for his age.
“Bata pa eh, so gusto ko yung skills niya,” Compton said. “Minsan may mga player na halata namang marunong. Ang tawag ko sa kanya, parang old soul. When I went to school in Philly for a couple of years, we call that an old head. Those are the guys that there’s nothing really flashy but they know what to do.”
“One of the guys who play that way is Ranidel (De Ocampo) who always knows what to do, where to go to read the defense and nothing’s like explosive, he’s just really smart,” he added. “I’m not saying he’s smart as hell, but he’s slower but a smart player.”