COLUMBIAN Dyip’s long history of losses hardly bothers CJ Aiken.
As the team’s import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, it’s his job to help the franchise turn its fate around.
He’s off to a good start so far as his decent league debut helped the team whip Blackwater, 126-98, in a fiery debut that set a couple of new records for the franchise.
As it is, the team has already equalled its win total in the season-opening Philippine Cup, but the 27-year-old Aiken made it clear he is looking for more.
“That’s the first thing I heard since I came here,” he said. “But we’re not really worried about last conference and the conference before that. We’ll just try to play ball and have fun.”
Validating his being an Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2012 out of Saint Joseph’s, Aiken grabbed 22 rebounds and had six of the team’s record 22 steals – second all-time in league history according to PBA head statistician Fidel Mangonon III after the 23 of FedEx in a 98-81 rout of Novi Said-Yugoslavia in the 2003 PBA Invitationals.
“That’s why they brought me here, to get rebounds and block shots,” said the native of Pennsylvania.
However, Aiken was lacking in offense, finishing just nine points as Fil-Ams Jerramy King and Rashawn McCarthy took care of the scoring by coming through with 30 and 22 points, respectively.
Coach Ricky Dandan voiced the need for his import to be more active offensively especially when he finally matches up with ‘bigger imports.’
“His presence in the shaded lane and rebounding is okay, but we need him to be more aggressive,” said the Columbian Dyip mentor.
The team’s coming two games will be an acid test for Aiken, according to Dandan, as the Dyip will be up against Meralco this Wednesday and NLEX on Sunday. The Bolts are set to parade anew former Best Import Arinze Onuaku, while the Road Warriors have enlisted Adrian Forbes as a late replacement for Arnett Moultrie.
“We’ll look at him this week and see how far he can go,” said the Dyip coach.
Aiken said he’s ready for the challenge.
“I just wanted the game to come to me and focus on rebounding,” he said about his meager offensive output in his debut. “Offensively, I’ll be fine. I’m not worried about that.
“The whole thing with me is I just have to get comfortable. Once I get comfortable with the offense, I’ll be fine for sure.”