PUREFOODS coach Tim Cone is leaving for the US on January 13 to watch the 2015 NBA D-League Showcase, hopeful he could find someone who will serve as the team’s import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup that kicks off on January 27.
Original choice Denzel Bowles, the one-time Best Import awardee, would most likely be left out of the equation since he’s reportedly over the 6-foot-9 height limit, leaving the Hotshots with no choice but to tap someone else.
“May listahan naman si coach Tim ng mga imports. So nagpupunta din siya sa NBA D-League Showcase para ma-update niya yung profiles ng mga players dun. Magaganda lahat,” said Purefoods board governor Rene Pardo on Tuesday.
“Pero sana ang makuha namin (from the D-League if ever), yung proven winner,” said the longtime team official, who declined to divulge the names of Cone’s prospects.
Pardo initially bared Purefoods was planning to tap Bowles anew as the team’s import for the mid-season conference, which the franchise won in 2012 with the former James Madison University stalwart on board.
The Purefoods board of governor though, said a league staff informed the Hotshots that Bowles stands beyond 6-foot-9, which means bringing him over remains a risky proposition even if the team flies someone to China and personally measure the import.
“Coach Tim will watch the D-League Showcase next month, so hopefully when he returns, kasama na nya yung import. That will give us at least two weeks to prepare na kasama yung import,” he added.
Purefoods also toyed with the idea of bringing in former Alaska reinforcement Diamon Simpson in lieu of Bowles, but the Spanish club of the former Saint Mary standout, Estudiantes Madrid, decided to renew his contract at the last minute, leaving the Hotshots with no choice but to find another replacement.
Under the Commissioner’s Cup format, the top 8 performing teams during the Philippine Cup are allowed to bring in imports with a maximum height limit of 6-foot-9.
The last four teams, on the other hand, have no height restrictions.
Should Cone fail to find an import from the NBA D-League, Purefoods might temporarily bring in Marqus Blakely even though he’s only standing around 6-foot-4.
Blakely has steered the Hotshots to back-to-back Governors Cup championship the past two seasons.