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    SMB still hopeful about import prospect Arinze Onuaku as agent says deal has 'fallen through'

    Jan 20, 2015
    SMB team manager Gee Abanilla says he's letting the coaches focus on Game Seven of the Philippine Cup Finals before shifting their attention on the Beermen's import for next conference. Jerome Ascano

    SAN Miguel Beer team manager Gee Abanilla said they are still hopeful that top import prospect Arinze Onuaku could suit up with the Beermen in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, which opens next week at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    On a day when Onuaku's local agent released a statement about the SMB deal 'falling through,' Abanilla said he believed the wide-bodied import is a perfect fit for the team owing to his size, rebounding and boundless energy.

    “Under negotiation pa rin hanggang ngayon, so di pa final, though marami kaming options pero type namin siya (Onuaku) saka gusto ng mga coaches 'yun eh,” Abanilla told Spin.ph on Tuesday.

    Onuaku's local agent Sheryl Reyes, however, said that at this time, Onuaku is awaiting a possible NBA call-up following his impressive showing at the recent NBA D-League Showcase.

    “As earlier reported, the Arinze buy-out (with his D-League team Canton Charge) was being processed, but due to his spectacular performance at the NBA D-League Showcase, NBA teams have expressed interest and he can have a possible call-up,” Reyes posted on her Twitter account on Tuesday.

    Outside his NBA D-League experience, Onuaku also played overseas in Lithuania and in China, where he averaged 28.6 points and 14.8 rebounds for the  Chongqing Flying Dragons.

    For the moment, Abanilla said he doesn’t want to distract coach Leo Austria and his staff, since they are focused on their preparation for Wednesday’s do-or-die Game Seven against Alaska in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

    “Sa ngayon, ayaw naming i-pre-empt ang lahat but w’ere having some discussions. Gusto namin matapos muna ang Game Seven. That’s our priority and we want to keep our focus on Game Seven, but we’re prepared for any situation,” he added.

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    SMB team manager Gee Abanilla says he's letting the coaches focus on Game Seven of the Philippine Cup Finals before shifting their attention on the Beermen's import for next conference. Jerome Ascano
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