DESPITE Henry Sims’ solid credentials with the Erie Bayhawks in the NBA Developmental League, Petron coach Olsen Racela is keeping his fingers crossed with their incoming import having only one day of practice before swinging into action on Friday.
The 6-10 Sims was supposed to join the Boosters’ Wednesday afternoon practice at the Ronac gym in San Juan. But with his Guam-to-Manila flight via Philippine Airlines suddenly cancelled, the former Georgetown University Hoya forward will be arriving early Thursday morning instead.
“Kaya nga kami nagpang-hapon na schedule para sa kanya (Sims), but we just have to wait for him. So ginawa lang namin kanina, balik lang sa plays namin,” Racela told Spin.ph after the team’s practice.
Sims will be tested in back-to-back games upon his arrival. The former Georgetown Hoya will go up against Eric Dawson and the Meralco Bolts on Friday then will be ranged on Sunday against former Los Angeles Lakers backup center DJ Mbenga, who blew into town on Tuesday afternoon to replace Evan Brock at Barako Bull.
Sims, who turned 23 last week, averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 blocks in 41 games as the starting center for the BayHawks this season.
Racela said he is wary of Mbenga, the seven-foot former NBA journeyman, who could easily provide a menacing inside presence because of his size, length and intimidating presence.
“Though parehong bago lang imports namin, ang Barako nakakatakot dahil narinig ko nga na dumating na daw si Mbenga. Plus they are fighting for survival pa,” added the Petron rookie coach, whose team currently is in solo third spot with its 6-4 record.
Sims will be the Petron’s third import this season after the banned Renaldo Balkman and Rodney White, who lasted just two games before being given the boot.
“Actually after pa lang ng first game, kinausap ko na siya (White). We gave him another chance, pero wala eh, he was not in game shape kaya tinanggap naman niya na papalitan na siya,” explained Racela.