DEFENSE may be his bread and butter, but Jameel Mckay is eager to display his offensive game as well for Phoenix when he makes his debut in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday night against Star at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The new Fuel Masters import is filling in the big shoes left by a high-scoring predecessor in Eugene Phelps, but is out to prove his offensive worth.
“I’m definitely going to be able to score the ball,” McKay said after his second practice with the Fuel Masters on Tuesday afternoon on the eve of the team’s 7 p.m. matchup against the Hotshots. “I’ll use this opportunity to come here and win, and showcase more of my offensive game.
“And this will open the door for a lot of things,” the 24-year-old cager added when asked if this stint could be a ticket to the NBA where he went undrafted last year. “I’m using this learning experience as also an opportunity to showcase my entire skill package.”
Vanguardia said McKay averaged less than 10 points per game in his first professional stint in Australia, but he was a “role player” for a Perth Wildcats championship team in a National Basketball League that allows three imports per team.
Still, it’s McKay’s topnotch defense where he’ll make a name as a PBA import.
“I’m going to also be an elite defender, and my impact on the game will be seen throughout,” the former Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year said.
“(You can expect) things that I’ve always done, being a lead defender in the league, if not the best defender in the league, and provide some scoring as well, leadership, and bring the winning mentality,” the Iowa State product added.
McKay reminds Vanguardia of former Alaska imports Rosell Ellis and Rob Dozier.
“Parang Ellis na mas matangkad at Ellis/Dozier,” Vanguardia said of the 6-foot-9 beanpole, who has a 7-foot-4 wingspan. “Yun ang vision naming sa kanya.”
Star coach Chito Victolero is taking caution as his team enters uncharted territory in terms of the Fuel Masters import.
“They have a new import, so yun yung problema namin: hindi namin siya kilala,” Victolero said. “Mayroon na kaming (video clips) nakita sa online, but yung real game talaga wala. Kailangan lang namin maging ready and ready for adjustments sa game.”