'Early bird' NLEX takes advantage of Dubai trip to scout for potential Asian imports
NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre says he and the coaches saw a lot of potential Asian imports from the Dubai tournament. Jaime Campos

EVEN though NLEX is open to trade proposals in a bid to shore up its roster this season, team manager Ronald Dulatre bared their intention to avail of the option to tap an Asian reinforcement to address the team's need for a solid playmaker come the PBA Governors Cup.

Dulatre said the Road Warriors’ recent stint in the Dubai gave them an opportunity to scout for a potential Asian import, a brainchild of league chairman Patrick Gregorio.

The hiring of Asian reinforcements was approved by the board before the season began, which could pave the way for the entry of such Asian stars such as Mehdi Kamrani of Iran, Jordanian naturalized player Rasheem Wright or even top-notch Korean guards,among others.

“We are looking for a solid point guard para sa team. But we feel that need can be addressed naman for the meantime when we get an Asian import sa next conference,” Dulatre told Spin.ph on Friday.

“When we played in Dubai, we already scouted some players there, kagaya ng ilang mga Lebanese players dun na may mga magagaling din na point guards,” added the NLEX team executive.

The Road Warriors actually dropped a lopsided 111-83 decision to five-time tournament champion Al-Riyadi-Lebanon. They went on to finish sixth in the Dubai Invitational International championships.

Dulatre declined to say who among the Asian players, impressed them the most, but this early, they have started to hold exploratory talks.

Under the Asian reinforcement program, the league will require all 12 teams to hire Asian cagers not more than 6-foot-3 tall outside of the regular imports to be tapped. 

The top eight teams after the Commissioner’s Cup will be allowed to get 6-foot-5 imports, while the bottom four will be given the leeway to tap imports with unlimited. 

All Asian players will be part of the 16-man pool of each team, though they must not be paid more than the allowable $10,000 salary cap. 

The league also placed safety nets by stressing that only Fiba-eligible Asian players should be hired.

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