RAIN or Shine import Arizona Reid said he is under no pressure to duplicate the championship feat attained by predecessor Jamelle Cornley with the franchise last season.
Reid has been tapped anew by the Elasto Painters to help the team defend the PBA Governors Cup title it won last year with Cornley, who was present at courtside when the Painters lost their first game of the tournament to Petron on Friday night.
(For full story, see Controversial Cornley waits in the wings as he longs for second chance in PBA)
“It’s no pressure. Like I said, we just have to take it one game at a time. I can’t worry about what they’ve done in the past. I am worrying about now,” the ever-approachable Reid told Spin.ph.
The former Best Import awardee admitted knowing how Cornley rewarded Rain or Shine with its breakthrough championship in Asia’s pioneering pro league.
“I heard about him (Jamelle). He got banged up but still won a championship,” said Reid. “But like I said, there’s no pressure. That’s in the past. I just play my game hard and try to be on top at the end of the game,” he said.
Rain or Shine's team owners acknowledged they are happy to see Reid return to the ballclub he played for in 2011.
“Jamelle gives us a different dimension, he is big and bulky. But AZ (Reid) is more of a forward. In terms of rebounding Reid is doing us a good favor,” said Raymund Yu.
Added co-owner Terry Que, “Importante nananalo kami. Saka subok na namin si Reid. Dinala nga kami dati niyan sa semis eh. Hindi pa ganun kalakas `yung team namin noon.”
Coach Yeng Guiao bared to Spin.ph the team had planned to bring in Cornley again for the Elasto Painters’ title defense in the season-ending conference.
Unfortunately, a scandalous incident on that fateful early morning of March 27 that saw the Penn State-educated import run wild at the lobby of a Quezon City hotel denied him of a chance to suit up for the team.
“Si Jamelle ang problema niya hindi naman `yung skill niya or `yung naging injury niya. Yung nangyari,” Guiao said while shaking his head.
“Yun ang problemang malaki. We cannot undo that anymore. He is the best import, he won us a championship,” added the outspoken coach.
The hard banging 6-foot-5 import was detained for four days at the Camp Karingal jail cell during the Lenten break following the incident. (For full story, see 'I am the victim here:' Jailed Cornley claims apathy from hotel officials triggered outburst)
Guiao believes Cornley should have realized the consequences of the highly-publicized scandal.
“No doubt, if we had a choice we would really have given him the first break,” added Guiao, who’s also a congressman of the first district of Pampanga.
“Kaso iyan talaga ang kapalaran niya. Nakikita ko naman how regretful he is. Tinatanggap naman niya. Nagtitiis siya (maghintay ng second chance),” bared Guiao, who bumped into Cornley during the Petron match.
Nonetheless, the multi-titled coach said he’s contented at having brought back Reid – the 2011 Governors Cup Best Import – for another tour of duty.
“Just the same we are happy to bring back AZ. He has been a steady import for us,” said Guiao of Reid, who’s so far averaging 28.33 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 assists in leading Rain or Shine to a 2-1 (win-loss) slate.