GIVEN a few more games and a little bit time to get back in shape, import Herve Lamizana could form a deadly frontcourt partnership with Asi Taulava at Air21.
The ageless Taulava himself attested to it after he and Lamizana teamed up and gave powerhouse Talk `N Text one big fight before falling short in the end, 95-91, in the two team’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup game.
The 41-year-old former league Most Valuable Player led the Express with a personal conference-high 23 points, to go along with 11 rebounds, while the reed-thin Lamizana nearly posted a quadruple-double with his 18 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, and seven blocks.
“We complement each other because he’s (Lamizana) a shot blocker. I’m not a shot blocker, so what I try to do is try to hold the guy (opposing import) up (on defense), keep him from getting to the basket so easy, and our import will do the rest,” Taulava told Spin.ph.
Aware that Lamizana is still adjusting to the physicality in the PBA, Taulava is trying to push the Express’ Ivorian import in practice, reminding him that with his vast international basketball experience and leaping ability, he can still definitely improve his game and easily average 10 blocks per contest.
“(It was) a solid game for him, almost a quadruple-double, but again, it’s not all about the points,” said Taulava, who led San Miguel to the Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship last year before earning a second tour of duty in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“I told him (Lamizana) that I want him to go and have 10 blocks per game. I know it’s within reach. We just got to prepare him,” he added.
“If he can get 10 blocks, we’d be 2-0 right now.”
In his debut game for the Express, Lamizana had five blocks in the team’s 83-78 win over Globalport.
Despite the all-around effort of Lamizana in Air21’s game against Talk `N Text, coach Franz Pumaren said the Abidjan, Ivory Coast-born import remains “under the microscope” just like the rest of the tournament’s imports.
“Everybody’s under the microscope. So we have to look at the overall situation, but it all depends,” said Pumaren, when asked if he’s still open to replacing Lamizana.
“I mean, if he’s in 100 percent (game) shape, I think he’ll be okay,” he added.