FORMER NBA Developmental League Impact Player of the Year Eric Dawson hopes to bring the same energy and enthusiasm to the PBA when he suits up for the Meralco Bolts in the Commissioner’s Cup beginning on February 8.
Listed at 6-foot-9 in the NBAD-League’s official website, the 28-year-old forward could easily plug the gaping hole in the middle for the Bolts left by former star Asi Taulava, according to Meralco deputy coach Jong Uichico.
“Eric can be an inside presence for the team. Iyan kasi ang kulang ng team eh, so I think, somehow, siya ang papalit sa ilalim kay Asi,” Uichico told Spin.ph.
Uichico, who will briefly preside the team’s practice next week as head coach Ryan Gregorio is still in the US, added that Dawson can be a go-to-guy in the post and could easily complement Meralco outside shooters like Ronjay Buenafe, Mac Cardona, and even playmaker Solomon Mercado.
“His numbers are not that bad. And if he can bring in here to the team what I saw from the tape, magiging maganda iyan para sa team. Hopefully, we can build on what we had in the first conference,” explained Uichico, who joined Meralco a year ago.
The 250-pound Dawson signed two 10-day contracts with the San Antonio Spurs during the 2011-2012 NBA season, making his NBA debut on February 21 against Portland and scoring nine points on 4-for-8 shooting, to go with six rebounds, one block shot, and one steal.
After his brief NBA stint, he returned to play for the Austin Toros for his fifth season in the NBADL, leading the team to nine wins in his first 10 games back.
In 29 games with the Toros, Dawson averaged 17.2 points and 10.7 rebounds, shooting 56 percent from the field. He eclipsed previous career highs which he set in the 2008-09 season when he averaged 10.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.
He eventually steered the Toros to the league’s second best record at 33-17 going into the 2012 playoffs, eventually earning him the NBADL Impact Player of the Year award.