GLOBALPORT is facing a tough three-game stretch to end its stint in the eliminations, but coach Eric Gonzales is confident the team can pull through after what he called an “import upgrade” from Calvin Warner to Derrick Caracter.
Caracter arrived on Tuesday evening to replace Warner, the undersized American import who averaged 20.8 points and 23.3 rebounds to help the Batang Pier to an even 4-4 record.
Warner had to leave the team to attend to "personal matters" in the United States, according to Gonzales.
“He’s a good passer. He can play along with the locals and he can play defense kahit ilabas mo siya,” Gonzales told Spin.ph on Thursday. “Pero alam ko, siguradong upgrade siya.”
Caracter, who was officially measured to be a shade below the 6-9 limit, played as a backup power forward for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2010-11 NBA season.
“Di ko lang alam yung actual, siguro inside talaga siya. An inside player who can help us in rebounding and at the same time we can go to him anytime,” added Gonzales.
GlobalPort faces NLEX led by former Los Angeles Clippers forward Al Thornton and Asi Taulava on Sunday, before going up against Barangay Ginebra on March 21 in Panabo City.
The Batang Pier wind up the single-round eliminations against Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer on March 24.
Caracter’s presence gives the Batang Pier a different look on offense, considering that young guards Terrence Romeo and rookie Fil-Am guard Stanley Pringle have been carrying the scoring load for the team this conference.
“Alam mo naman kami, puro guard position kami (on offense) like sina Stanley and Terrence, pero nakikita ko naman na athletic siya (Caracter) saka maingay siya sa floor. Nagko-communicate siya sa locals,” explained Gonzales.
Romeo, who recently won the Three-Point shootout and was named MVP of the All-Star Game, is averaging 21.8 points this conference, shooting a career-best 42.2 percent from the three-point zone.
Pringle, last year’s top rookie pick, averages 11.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists.