THE long wait is over for Darnell Jackson after Meralco finally activated the former NBA veteran as its import with three games to go in the team’s elimination round schedule in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 6-foot-9 Jackson formally joined the Bolts’ practice on Friday afternoon more than a week since quietly slipping into town as possible replacement for Brian Butch.
Team manager Butch Antonio said Jackson brings in a new dimension to the Bolts, who suffered a 96-79 beating at the hands of Rain or Shine last Wednesday in a performance that decided the fate of Butch.
“He’s got a strong inside presence. Para siyang si (Richard) Howell,” Antonio told Spin.ph as he likened Jackson to the Talk `N Text import in terms of strength.
The Meralco official, however, said it is difficult to compare Jackson with the 6-foot-9 Butch, who gave the Bolts a huge outside threat and an infectious attitude inside the locker room in the six games that he played for the franchise.
“It’s hard to compare kasi si Brian parang Dirk Nowitzki (of the Dallas Mavericks). Eh si DJ naman inside player and he’s doing okay naman in practice,” said Antonio.
Butch, who saw action for Wisconsin in college, finished his brief PBA stint with averages of 27.2 points, 21.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.3 blocks.
He posted 40 points and grabbed a conference-high 31 rebounds last week in leading the Bolts to a 109-98 come-from-behind win over Air21.
Meanwhile, Jackson was selected 52nd overall by the Miami Heat in the 2008 NBA draft and played for Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Sacramento in four seasons in the league.
The former University of Kansas forward averaged 2.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.5 minutes of action in 138 NBA career games.
The 29-year-old Jackson is coming off a 37-game stint in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Shanghai Sharks owned by former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, where he averaged 21.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 steals.