MERALCO coach Ryan Gregorio reiterated that import Brian Butch will remain with the team notwithstanding a humiliating 91-68 beating the Bolts suffered at the hands of Talk 'N Text on Friday night.
"We're not thinking about anything. Brian Butch is playing this Sunday," said Gregorio in a brief response to Spin.ph's query if Butch has, indeed, played his last game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Gregorio left the Astrodome in haste shortly after the 23-point blowout suffered by the Bolts that dropped the team to an even 2-2 win-loss record.
Butch, the Appleton, Wisconsin native who is averaging 42 percent from beyond the arc, went just 2-of-7 from the same spot against the Tropang Texters.
He still managed to grab 20 rebounds, but without solid local support, the Bolts were doomed since midway in the third period when the Tropang Texters made a strong defensive effort and got away with several easy baskets from the paint.
Meralco team insiders told Spin.ph that Darnell Jackson, the 52nd overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 2008 NBA Draft, has been in town since early this week as possible replacement for Butch.
Jackson though has yet to join the team's practice.
A member of the 2008 US NCAA champion Kansas, Jackson played for three NBA teams in three seasons, starting with the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks, before winding up with the Sacramento Kings.
Listed at 6-foot-8, Jackson averaged 21.8 points and 11.2 rebounds while playing for the Shanghai Sharks recently in the Chinese Basketball Association.