Coach Koy Banal signs 7-foot-1 Alabi to give Barako Bull much-needed inside presence
Solomon Alabi was the Dallas Mavericks' pick at 50th overall in the 2010 NBA draft. Photo from

AFTER weeks of searching for the right import, Barako Bull coach Koy Banal has decided to bring in 7-1 Nigerian big man Solomon Alabi as the Energy’s reinforcement for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Banal said he believes the former Toronto Raptors back-up center can bring in the much-needed inside presence the Energy sorely lacked during their failed campaign in the Philippine Cup.

“We felt we needed someone who can provide us the strong inside presence, kasi ang gusto ko sa import namin, yung rim protector, gustong mag-rebound at magpo-provide sa amin ng last line of defense,” Banal told after the team’s practice on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old Alabi, who played for the Florida State University in college, was selected 50th overall by the Dallas Mavericks during the 2010 NBA Draft.

He was eventually traded to the Raptors that season, where for a few times, he was assigned to play for the Erie Bayhawks in the NBA D-League, before being recalled to play for Toronto.

In the 2011-12 season, Alabi averaged 2.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 8.7 minutes for the Raptors, while registering NBA career-high numbers of 11 points, 19 rebounds and three blocks during the team’s final game of the regular season.

Barako Bull is coming off a ninth-place finish in the all-Filipino conference, winning just four times in 12 games overall.

Banal said with Alabi, the team now has the size to compete against elite PBA teams like Barangay Ginebra, Purefoods Star, San Miguel Beer and Alaska.

“At least with Alabi, may factor na magda-dalawang isip ang kalaban umatake sa loob,” he added.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava