Meralco bringing in former NBA player Alex Stepheson as Onuaku unavailable
Alex Stepheson had short stints with the LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA. From Iowa Energy Facebook page

MERALCO is set to fill its gaping hole in the middle by tapping the services of Alex Stepheson as import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The Bolts on Thursday announced the development on their Twitter account, @MeralcoBoltsPH, before team manager Paolo Trillo confirmed it over the phone.

The 29-year-old Stepheson, listed at 6-10, has actually been the Bolts’ first choice over Arinze Onuaku even since the last edition of the midseason tournament, only for the undrafted NBA hopeful to sign a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, before also playing briefly for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Now, it’s the other way around as Onuaku, who led the Bolts to a semifinal appearance in the last Commissioner’s Cup on the way to being named Best Import, had been playing for the Orlando Magic when Meralco tried to acquire him again.

“We couldn’t really get a commitment from him (Onuaku), so we decided to go for Alex,” Trillo said.

“He’s the same mold as Onuaku – an inside presence,” he added of Stepheson, who led the NBA D-League in rebounding last year and last played in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Guangzhou Long-Lions.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos