HE’S already an intimidating presence and plays as dominant as he looks, yet Alex Stepheson can even be scarier.
Despite already posting dominant numbers for Meralco early in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, the Bolts' towering import believes he still has a lot more to show.
The 6-foot-10 American big man had 20 points and 27 rebounds but made just seven of his 16 shots and felt he could’ve run the floor better in the team’s 94-89 win over TNT KaTropa on Friday night.
“I definitely can still improve my conditioning,” Stepheson said. “There are a lot of shots around the basket that I’m still not quite finishing like I want to, and just overall presence – I have moments where I kind of maybe disappear for a second or two.”
“But it’s all coming back,” he was quick to add. “I was out for two months, so it’s a process, but I’m getting there."
[See Meralco continues resurgence behind import Alex Stepheson]
Bolts coach Norman Black recounted that Stepheson was a great transition player when he first saw him play.
“When I first recruited him, he was actually a runner. He was a guy who really ran the floor and sealed, and dunked a lot, which is something we haven’t seen too much of yet,” Black said. “But I’m hoping as he gets in better shape, we’ll be getting to see some of those skills come out.”
Stepheson has at least exceeded his coach's expectations with regards to his conditioning.
“The one thing I’m seeing from Alex is when he first got off to play, I honestly thought he needed about a month to get in shape. It’s already been three weeks now and he looks a lot better than he did three weeks ago,” Black said. “So hopefully as he gets to get in better shape, he’ll be more dominant for us.”
Apart from extra running, Stepheson credited the summer heat in the country for hastening the weight-reduction process.
“I lost a little weight because of the running, and also the humidity and heat, so each game I felt a little better, so today, I felt pretty good,” the former Memphis Grizzly and Los Angeles Clipper said.
But as long as his rebounding and inside presence remain constant, the Bolts should be fine.
“I’m just going to keep doing my job, rebounding, playing strong inside, try to make as many free throws as I can, try to finish off the shots I can around the basket, and hopefully some of those dunks start to go in,” Stepheson said. “Other than that, I know my job and I’m trying to do it the best way I can.”