Former hockey player Liam McMorrow hardly bothered by physical play in PBA
Toronto-born Liam McMorrow would not have made the shift from ice hockey to hoops if not for a huge growth spurt in high school from 6-5 to 7-0. Dante Peralta

HE is a basketball late-bloomer, yet Liam McMorrow seems to be a natural in basketball.

The Barako Bull import, a hockey player since he was a kid, showed why when he led the Energy to a 101-96 win over NLEX in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night.

McMorrow, who hails from Canada where hockey is the No. 1 sport, tallied a huge double-double of 33 points on 11-of-14 shooting, and 22 boards in 42 minutes as the Energy got off to a great start in the season-ending conference.

It was a skillful performance for the 28-year-old Toronto-born slotman, who would not have made the shift to hoops if not for a huge growth spurt in high school from 6-5 to 7-0.

“Everyone said I’m athletic, so might as well try basketball,” McMorrow smiled after the game.

He hasn’t had any regrets since the move.

“I love basketball. It’s awesome.”

But McMorrow, who has played in the NBA D-League, Taiwan, and his native country before going to the Philippines, admitted he still has a lot to learn.

“Every game, every practice I have, it’ll (experience) just keep going up.”

What prepared him for the physical brand of play in the PBA is his experience from his former sport, Mcmorrow said.

“People want to get aggressive and I’m already very used to that,” McMorrow said. “I fought in hockey, where there’s a lot of body checking. When guys try to intimidate me, I just laugh. (I think to myself)’you guys don’t even know what intimidation is.’”

“Basketball, it can by physical, but hockey is a lot more physical. So it helps a lot,” he added.

And he won’t back down from any fight.

“I don’t expect fistfights, but if there was one, I wouldn’t be scared of it.”

Barako coach Koy Banal said McMorrow has better offense than Commissioner’s Cup import Solomon Alabi.

“What i liked with Liam is he has the energy, it rubs off with our locals,” Banal said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos