RAIN or Shine import Bruno Sundov finally got to see action on Saturday in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
After finishing with 30 points – the most by any player in the tourney’s first three games so far – in the Elasto Painters’ 83-81 loss to Alaska, Sundov turned 33 years old the following day.
Officially measured at 7-2 3/4, the Croat formally became the tallest player ever to see action in the 38-year history of the pro league.
The previous tallest imports that ever played in the PBA were only 7-1s, the most recent Chris Alexander who saw action in last season’s Commissioner’s Cup with Barangay Ginebra and the best import of the 2008 Fiesta Conference when the Kings last tasted a championship.
The three other 7-1 imports in the league were Lorenzo Coleman of Purefoods and Darell Johns in the 2005 Fiesta Conference, and Jim Zoet of Finance Inc. in the 1981 Open Conference.
From my diggings of past PBA annuals, I also found out that prior to Sundov, there had only been 13 seven-footers who have ever played as imports in the league.
The first-ever 7-foot import was Nate Stephens, a fourth-round pick of the Boston Celtics in 1972, who played for Concepcion Industries in the 1975 Second Conference. He was listed at 7-0.
The nine others – all listed at 7-0 – were Steve Stroud of Seven-Up in the 1977 Open Conference, Jeff Wilkins of Galleon in the 1980 Open Conference and CDCP in the 1981 Open Conference, Ed Lawrence of CDCP in the 1981 Open Conference, Earl Barron, who played for Red Bull in the 2005 Fiesta Conference and Meralco in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup, Melvin Robinson of Shell in the 2005 Fiesta Conference, Ernest Brown of Brgy. Ginebra and Reda Rhalimi of Purefoods in the 2008 Fiesta Conference, and Adam Parada, who saw action for Red Bull in the 2008 Fiesta Conference and Alaska in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup.
Wilkins and Lawrence were actually the tallest import combination in PBA history when they played alongside each other in that 1981 Open Conference.
Of those previous 13 7-foot giants, Alexander was the only one to win a PBA championship.
Will Sundov follow in his footsteps?