TIRED of seeing his team become a punching bag for bigger teams in the league, KIA Motors playing coach Manny Pacquiao has agreed to bring in Puerto Rican giant Peter John Ramos to shore up the Sorento’s short frontline for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Ramos, listed at 7-foot-3 by Fiba.com, was the third Puerto Rican player to ever be drafted in the NBA when he was selected as the 32nd overall pick by the Washington Wizards in 2004.
KIA team manager Eric Pineda said the expected signing of Ramos has the blessing of Pacquiao, who on Wednesday, celebrated his 36th birthday in General Santos City.
“Gusto kasi ni coach Manny yung pinakamagaling, eh siya (Ramos) yung tipo ng player na malakas sa shot block,” Pineda told Spin.ph shortly upon landing in Manila on Thursday. Pineda also attended the world boxing icon’s birthday party on Wednesday night along with KIA's players.
If KIA succeeds in signing Ramos, he will join Croatian Bruno Sundov - who played for Rain or Shine in last year's Commissioner's Cup - as the tallest players to ever play in Asia's first professional basketball league.
Reil Cervantes, a 6-4 forward who has made a successful comeback in the PBA, has been the team’s leading rebounder with an average of 5.3 boards in the Philippine Cup, aside from norming a team-high 16.6 points.
KIA, however, finished its maiden PBA conference with a woeful 1-10 record, its lone victory comingat the expense of fellow expansion team Blackwater Elite, 80-66 during the season’s opening game at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Pineda admitted that with the gigantic Ramos patrolling the shaded lane in the mid-season conference set to open on January 27, he expects KIA to be more competitive.
Ramos, 29, was a member of the 2004 Puerto Rico national squad that shocked a US team bannered by NBA players, 92-73, in the preliminaries of the Athens Olympics.
Ramos’ career NBA stats included averages of 1.8 points, 0.7 rebound and 0.2 block in six regular season games in 2004 with the Wizards.
He also played for the NBA Developmental League’s Idaho Stampede and Roanoke Dazzle where he compiled career averages of 14.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 76 games overall.
Pineda said if not for an injury, Ramos would have been part of the Puerto Rican national team in this year’s Fiba World Cup in Spain.
The Puerto Rican giant’s most recent national team stint saw him average 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds during the 2010 Fiba World Cup held in Istanbul, Turkey.