BARAKO Bull may be forced to shop around for a new import in the PBA Governors Cup after original choice Solomon Alabi left for the United States to attend to his pregnant wife.
Coach Koy Banal disclosed the Energy are pretty much set to bring back the 7-foot Nigerian for the season-ending conference after steering the team to the playoffs of the Commissioner’s Cup.
But family matters came in as Alabi’s wife is due to give birth next month, prompting him to leave back for the U.S.
“Kinakausap niya (Alabi) ang asawa niya, pero manganganak kasi ng May. Eh tumawag uli sa kanya at pinapauwi siya. Mabait na bata kaya umuwi na sa US,” Banal told Spin.ph on Saturday.
The former Florida State University standout averaged 23.7 points, 19.4 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks for the Energy during the mid-season tournament.
He played his last game for the Energy during their quarterfinal match up against second seed Talk ‘N Text last week, which they lost, 127-97.
Banal said it is a no-brainer for the team to tap a big import considering the Energy lost Dorian Pena and Mick Pennisi in separate trades the past few conferences.
“Wala kasi akong big eh. Wala na akong Dorian and Mick. Eh si (Philip) Paredes inexperienced pa, tapos si Jondan is just 6-foot-2. So we need to get bigger,” the Barako Bull coach added.
But the soft-spoken Banal is happy for the team’s new acquisitions in James Forrester and Dylan Ababou, both noted outside shooters during their amateur days.
“Okay na ako lalo na ngayon may shooters na kami, sina Dylan and James. Kailangan lang magka-kumpiyansa diyan to be effective,” he said of the two players the team acquired in a trade with Ginebra for a 2015 first round rookie pick.
With younger legs added to the team, Banal intends to push the tempo more in the season-ending conference, a ploy that has worked so well for Rain or Shine under coach Yeng Guiao.
“You won’t go wrong when you run and try to outrun your opponents. Pero meron din kaming pupuntahan ngayon kung walang takbo because everybody is working on the transition defense,” explained the former Far Eastern University head coach.
Barako Bull resumes practice on Wednesday as it begins its preparation for the third conference.