ROB Dozier finally gets his wish as he returns to the Philippines to play as an import after a three-year wait - with the help of a good soul who's now in a better place.
Dozier admitted he has been longing to play in the country since he last played for Alaska in 2016, but he finally gets his chance this conference when he suits up for Phoenix Pulse.
“I’ve been ready to get back here for a while,” said Dozier in an interview with SPIN.ph after Tuesday’s practice. “A couple of times, I’ve tried to get out of teams I’ve been with to try to get here and just weren’t able to work it out.”
“Sheryl (Reyes, player agent) finally got me here and I’m here with coach Louie (Alas), coach Topex (Robinson), guys I’m comfortable with. They know me, I know them. I’m excited about the new challenge,” the University of Memphis product added.
Dozier arrived in the Philippines two weekends ago, but never got the opportunity to see Reyes before she passed.
“I was really looking forward to seeing her. I had a lot of conversations with her over the last months. We didn’t expect, you know, before it happened like this,” Dozier said.
Dozier said he had a conversation with a friend where they talked about Reyes over breakfast.
“Five hours later, he hit me and told me she had passed. It sucks, man.
Dozier described Reyes as someone who changed his life.
“I want to get my deepest condolences to the family. She was someone who's really near and dear to my heart. She changed my life and my family’s life. I really appreciate her. I really do,” said Dozier.
The 33-year-old Dozier started playing for Alaska in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, leading the Aces to a three-game sweep of Barangay Ginebra.
Now, Dozier has signed up with Phoenix Pulse, where he will have familiar faces on the team in head coach Louie Alas, assistant coach Topex Robinson, and Calvin Abueva.
“He is hard on us right now,” Dozier said of Alas. It’s early in the conference. I know the guys finished in the semis last conference. Guys can sometimes be a little complacent. He’s been hard on us but it’s needed. This is a totally new, different conference from the all-Filipino. We just have to figure it out,” said Dozier.
Dozier likes the potential of the team, having a young group of guys that were coming off a semifinal finish in the Philippine Cup.
“Different team. Of course, this team is a little bit younger than what we were in Alaska. That’s always going to be a challenge to keeping us focus, and stuff likethat. I’m excited with what we have. The potential.
“We are going to definitely be a running team. I can tell it already. Right now, I’m just trying to get acclimated with the offense and learn what the plays can do that I don’t know and just keeping it better,” Dozier said.
Dozier also looks forward to also playing with Abueva, who gives a ton of energy every game.
“That’s going to be fun of course. He always goes out and give a 110 percent. That is something that is infectious for the whole team so I’m excited about that. Haven’t played with him in a while. Looking forward to it,” said Dozier.