PUREFOODS Star’s plan to sign former Alaska import Diamon Simpson hit a snag, forcing the Hotshots to revert to their initial plan of bringing back former PBA Best Import awardee Denzel Bowles.
Coach Tim Cone said Simpson’s team Estudiantes Madrid of the Spanish League ACB decided to renew the contract of the former Saint Mary’s standout, leaving the Hotshots with no choice but to try to sign Bowles anew.
“We thought we had Diamon, but his team decided to renew his contract, so we couldn't get his release," Cone told Spin.ph on Thursday.
"Now, Denzel is our first option. But we’ll have to measure him first."
The multi-titled PBA coach said he would like to personally fly to China by January to measure the height of the center out of James Madison University or, if he can't make it, send his assistant Richard Del Rosario to do it.
Under the format of the Commissioner’s Cup, the top eight teams during the Philippine Cup are allowed to bring in an import with a maximum height limit of 6-9. The last four teams, on the other hand have no height restrictions.
Cone added that the last option is bringing back Marqus Blakely as their import for the mid-season conference, even though he only stands around 6-4.
“There’s always Marqus out there who won two championships in a row with us, that’s slightly remote, but it’s a possibility. He knows our system,” added the 57-year-old Cone.
The Hotshots are determined to defend their Commissioner’s Cup title, which they won last year after beating the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters, 3-1 in the Finals.