A VERY familiar face watched with keen interest as Arizona Reid and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters battled the Petron Boosters on Friday night.
Jamelle Cornley was among the weekend crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as the Boosters routed his former team, 99-84 in the PBA Governors Cup eliminations.
And from where he sat, Cornley knows very well he can keep up with the batch of imports playing in the season-ending tournament he dominated last year on the way to helping Rain or Shine win a maiden PBA title.
Given another chance, the reigning Governors Cup best import is vocal enough to say he’s ready to suit up in the league again should a team tap his services.
“If there’s a team that’s gonna show interest, I can play," he admitted to Spin.ph.
The former Rain or Shine import said he keeps tab of what’s happening in the league by constantly watching the games, including the ones involving the Elasto Painters.
"I always watch it on TV but it’s my first time here at the venue this conference," said Cornley, who’s been shuttling back and forth between the Philippines and the US and had just come off a short stint in a league held in Mindanao where he played as import.
Asked what he feels watching his former teammates in a tournament where he is supposed to be leading them, the import just shrugged his shoulders.
"I always watch them. I saw most of their games last conference ... You asked me about now? Well, that’s basketball," said the wide bodied 6-foot-5 banger.
Ironically, Cornley sat behind the Petron bench during its game against Rain or Shine.
"I can’t sit there (behind Rain or Shine). They have an import. And besides I am a friend to almost all the imports, like him Markeith Cummings," said Cornley as he pointed to the Globalport import.
A Penn State alumnus, Cornley was all set to return for Rain or Shin until a highly-publicized scandal that saw him run wild in a Quezon City hotel changed everything for Cornley.
“I am not gonna talk about that. I came here to watch basketball," he said, obviously eluding further queries about the case.
Rain or Shine's board representative and former chairman Atty. Mert Mondragon told Spin.ph the Painters' management will not hinder Cornley in his bid to play in the PBA again.
"Walang problema sa amin. Kung may kukuha sa kanya na ibang team, kausapin lang kami. Mapapag-usapan namin ang release niya. Hindi namin haharangin si Jamelle," said Mondragon.
Meanwhile, Cornley refers to Reid, a former Best Import himself, as a steady player who is quite familiar with the league.
"Yeah, he’s steady. He’s good," said Cornley without further elaborating.
"And if you ask me, 'Can he help defend the crown?' Well things changed. They have to play the game. Other teams have improved, new faces in there, so it will be hard to look beyond today," he said.
As of the prospect of playing against Reid and the Elasto Painters one day, Cornley said: "It’s basketball!"
"I do me. I don’t pay attention to who I play against. I just play my game. I can play Kobe Bryant. And I’ll just play mine," he added.