“Meron na (clearance). Makakalaro siya,” said a team insider of Simmon’s situation.
The Road Warriors found themselves in a bind on the eve of the match as the 33-year-old Simmons, carrying the most impressive credentials among this batch of imports, could not secure a Fiba clearance from his mother ballclub, Shanxi Loongs, in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).
The hitch was on top of an apparently bigger offer for the former NBA player to play in the CBA again, thereby possibly cutting short his stint with NLEX.
But the future can wait as the present is of significance, especially with the Road Warriors looking to begin their campaign on a bright note.
Simmons suiting up in the team’s first game is certainly a boost to an NLEX side which underwent a roster revamp prior to the season-ending conference.
The Road Warriors acquired veteran big men Sean Anthony and Jake Pascual in a three-team trade that led NLEX to give up Justin Chua and Paul Varilla.
They also acquired guard Hesed Gabo and Clint Doliguez in the free agent market as old hand Larry Fonacier officially retired from playing and assumed the role as NLEX team manager.