RAIN or Shine import Rick Jackson is used at playing in a lot of physical games that he’s no longer surprised with the PBA brand of play.
Jackson had a rude welcome in the league Friday after he was punched from behind by young Purefoods center Yousif Taha during the two teams’ exhibition match at the Ronac gym in San Juan.
Taha was caught on video taken by a Rain or Shine coaching staff punching Jackson four times during a rebound battle.
The wide-bodied Jackson tried to retaliate, but the 6-foot-8 Taha managed to elude him before proverbial cooler heads intervened to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
Rain or Shine was ahead, 58-55, with still 9:15 to go in the third period when game officials decided to stop the match, marking the third time in a matter of seven days that a tune-up game was halted due to fighting.
“I didn’t even realized I was hit at the back until I turnaround, and I see him talking and going to a rant,” recalled the 25-year-old Jackson, who was coming off a stint in the Russian league where he played for Krashny Oktyabr.
“But I’m not worried about that (physicality). I’m here to play basketball and continue to play because I’m used to a physical game because when I played in Russia, the VTV League, it is physical,” said the former Syracuse stalwart, who was already forewarned by coach Yeng Guiao of the physicality in the league just days before he arrived here.
A second choice by Rain or Shine as import for the Commissioner’s Cup after old hand Wayne Chism failed to get his release papers from his Israeli team, Jackson explained he intends to plug the hole in the middle for a team that has been beaten off the boards almost every game during the season-opening Philippine Cup.
“I can bring a lot of rebounding, help the team in anything really down low because we gotta lot of good shooters,” he said, referring to the team’s platoon of gunners like Paul Lee, Jeff Chan, and back-up guards Tyrone Tang and big men Beau Belga and JR Quinahan.
Rain or Shine reached the semifinals of last season’s Commissioner’s Cup but lost to Talk `N Text.