IT would have been good for Jonathon Simmons to get a feel of what it's like playing against the most popular ballclub in the PBA before heading back to China.
Unfortunately, the NLEX import's coming stint in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) can’t wait that long.
Efforts by NLEX management and coach Frankie Lim to have Simms around by the time the Road Warriors face defending Governors Cup champion Barangay Ginebra on Wednesday next week didn’t pan out.
The 33-year-old former NBA player is scheduled to leave on Sunday.
“I was asking him to stay one more game so he gets to play against Ginebra,” Lim disclosed on Wednesday night after the Road Warriors completed an inspiring 110-108 win over TNT Tropang Giga at the Philsports Arena.
“But he can’t,” added the NLEX coach. “I think they (Chinese team) want him to be there right away.”
Instead, Simmons gets to play against Phoenix for his final game with NLEX on Saturday, after which the Road Warriors face the Kings in their next schedule.
“If he can find his passport,” said Lim with a smile, when asked about the odds of Simmons staying for the Ginebra game.
The win over TNT, which saw Simmons erupt for 45 points including 18 in the third period, gave the Road Warriors their third straight win to tie Converge for the lead in the standings.
It also moved Simmons a win short of fulfilling his mission to win all of his four games with the Road Warriors before leaving for China.
In the first three games he played, the import averaged an all-around game of 36.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists.
“For me, he’s a nice teammate because he gets everybody involved, he knows who our shooters are,” said Lim of Simmons.
“Maganda yung basketball sense niya. Pinaka-maganda sa kanya, he can shoot [from the] outside, he can drive. He’s a point guard actually, kaya magandang dumiskarte.”
Another former NBA player in Wayne Selden will take the place of Simmons.