NLEX has brought in an explosive slam dunking player in Kwame Alexander, although he needs to quickly adjust to his new team after arriving just two days before the Road Warriors’ opening match against Barako Bull on Wednesday at the MOA Arena.
Alexander, listed 6 feet 4 and 13/16 inches, replaces Rob Jones, who left last week due to personal reasons.
“Kwame is quicker for his size. Di pa siya nakapag-practice kasi kagabi (Monday night) lang dumating, so nag-walk through lang muna siya sa practice,” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said.
The 23-year-old Alexander won the Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown Los Angles last year and is coming off a stint with Aries Trikalla BC in the Greek League, where he averaged 10.3 points and 5.6 rebounds.
NLEX will also get additional scoring support from Syria’s Michel Madanly, who averaged over 33 points per game in the 2007 Fiba-Asia men’s basketball championships in Tokushima, Japan.
“Michel can address our concerns at the 2-3 spot. At least, kung medyo mag-struggle ang mga guards namin, Michel can provide the scoring for us,” he added.
Barako Bull hopes to capitalize on whatever chemistry problems NLEX might have on opening day.
The match starts at 4:15 p.m.
The Energy will be parading former Ginebra players James Forrester, Dylan Ababou and Joseph Yeo, who were acquired in separate trade deals with Barangay Ginebra.
Rico Maierhofer is also returning to Barako Bull after being shipped to the Energy by San Miguel Beer almost three weeks ago.
Canadian seven-foot import Liam McMorrow will be manning the slot for the guard-heavy Barako Bull side.
“Combination of running and playing defense ang gagawin namin. Siyempre, we still want to be a defensive team,” Banal said.