NOT just one but two former Los Angeles Lakers are among the four prospects being eyed by Globalport as possible replacement for Justin Williams in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Spin.ph learned that DJ Mbenga and Brian Cook have been at the top of the list being studied by Batang Pier management as it looks to give the team a fresh boost after a 2-3 (win-loss) start with Williams.
Officials have remained silent about the matter, but a source who declined to be identified confirmed the news that arrangements are now being made for negotiations with either of the two former Lakers.
Mbenga, a part of the Lakers’ back-to-back championship team in 2009 and 2010, had made noise early in the conference when both Alaska and Barangay Ginebra took interest in him.
The Kings actually came close to signing up Mbenga, but negotiations bogged down as the Congolese-Belgian seven-footer still had commitments in the US and was not available on short notice.
“Ngayon open na schedule ni DJ, so pwedeng-pwede na siya,” said the source.
Also being dangled to Globalport is the 6-foot-9 Cook.
Picked 24th overall in the 2003 NBA draft, Cook played chief back-up to NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal in his rookie year with the Lakers.
But Cook is best known for being part of Team USA under-21 unit that won the gold medal in the 2001 FIBA U21 World Championship in Saitama, Japan.
Aside from Cook and Mbenga, Globalport is still looking at videos of two more prospective imports likely to take over the spot of the 6-foot-10 Williams, a steady defensive presence in the middle with great shotblocking skills, but sorely lacking in offensive skills to take charge at crunch time.
“You know naman boss Mikee, he doesn’t want to lose,” said a team source, referring to Globalport owner Mikee Romero, whose passion for winning is unquestionable as proven by his stints in the defunct Philippine Basketball League, the Asian Basketball League, and even as basketball patron during the Southeast Asian Games in 2007.
“Importante kasi kay boss Mikee `yung gumawa ng lasting impression, not just winning a single conference, but to build a lasting legacy,” the source added.
Romero had earlier disclosed to Spin.ph that he’s seeking a replacement for Williams following the back-to-back losses suffered by the Batang Pier at the hands of Talk `N Text and Meralco.
The Globalport team owner didn’t mince any words that he’s looking for an import who can be the team’s go-to-guy at crunchtime.