NEW Meralco import Eric Dawson insists he’s no “messiah” for the Bolts but promises to bring in energy, unselfish play, and defensive spunk to a franchise aiming to be among the legitimate title contenders in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 6-9 Dawson arrived at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday and headed straight to the Bolts’ practice at the Meralco gym, saying he can't wait to see his new teammates as well as the country which he hopes would be his address for several months.
“I slept a little bit, but I was anxious to get over here and see what the Philippines is like and be able to meet my new teammates, coaches and trainers,” Dawson told Spin.ph after the two-hour Meralco practice.
While he’s coming off an explosive performance for the Austin Toros in the NBA D-League last year which earned him an Impact Player of the Year award, Dawson said he’s not the type of player capable of putting up a one-man-show.
“I don’t think one person can change a whole team around. It takes team effort among the players, the coaches and the trainers,” said the former Midwestern State alumnus.
The 28-year-old Dawson, a lookalike of Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant, said he intends to use his size and height to complement the perimeter game of guys like Mac-mac Cardona, Ronjay Buenafe, and Sol Mercado.
“This team is a defensive-oriented team. That’s a good thing because everybody is helping everybody on defense. For me, I love playing defense and I love rebounding,” added the former San Antonio Spurs forward.
In 29 games with the Toros, Dawson averaged 17.2 points and 10.7 rebounds, shooting 56 percent from the field. He eclipsed previous career highs that he set in the 2008-09 season when he averaged 10.4 points and 6.6 rebounds.
He eventually helped the Toros to the league’s second best record at 33-17 going into the playoffs, eventually earning the 2012 NBA D-League Impact Player of the Year award.