WINNING the Best Import plum is not a priority for Alaska reinforcement Robert Dozier.
His focus is on a bigger prize – the PBA Commissioner’s Cup championship.
Although he is considered the top favorite in the race for the Best Import award, the 6-foot-9 forward out of University of Memphis said he’s more motivated to win a championship that has eluded him for much of his career.
Dozier told Spin.ph he’s been into several Finals appearances before, including one with now NBA superstar Derrick Rose and the Memphis Tigers in the US NCAA, but always came up short of a league title.
“I’ve been into championship rounds, I won conference titles in the US, but never have I won a championship. And I wish to end it here in the Philippines,” said Dozier, who along with Rose and the rest of the Tigers lost to the Kansas Jayhawks in the 2008 US NCAA Finals.
In his stint in the French League (2011-12), his Cholet basketball team also fell one win short of winning the crown, while his stint in Greece saw his team settling for third place.
“I’ve been frustrated so many times, I have been unable to get that championship. Hopefully this year is gonna be good for us,” he added. “We’re playing well, we have a good team. Everybody’s getting along.”
Part of losing in the past is learning a lot from those previous championship experiences.
The hard-working import who calls himself as "the team’s glue guy," however doesn’t want to underestimate the heart of Finals opponent Barangay Ginebra.
“You have to respect Ginebra’s surge from an 0-4 (record) this conference. They had to hurdle Rain or Shine’s twice-to-beat edge. It was the same case against Talk N’ Text. Those guys are fighters over there,” Dozier said of the Kings.
As for the Best Import award, Dozier said, “The championship is still more important, but who wouldn’t want the Best Import trophy?. It’s a great accomplishment to have.
“If I can have both, that’ll be great.”
Dozier also thinks the race for the (Best Import) award will be very, very close one especially with fan-favorite Vernon Macklin having turned things around for Ginebra since he arrived.
The Alaska import doesn’t even think his longer tenure will give him an edge over Macklin, a replacement for Herbert Hill.
“It doesn’t matter anymore. They’re in the Finals now. You watch the games and see how he works hard to help his team,” Dozier said, while not ruling out the chances of other bets like reigning Best Import Denzel Bowles (San Mig Coffee), Bruno Sundov (Rain or Shine), and Eric Dawson (Meralco).
The Best Import and Best Player of the Conference awards will be known just before Game Three of the best-of-five Finals that start Wednesday.