HE might be a last-minute replacement, but Cory Jefferson looks like he’s here to stay for Alaska for the rest of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Aces import, who came in on short notice for Octavius Ellis, made an impressive debut on Saturday when he registered 28 points, 14 boards, three assists, one steal, and one block, without a single turnover in just 27 minutes of play in the team’s 107-79 win over GlobalPort.
“I feel I’m here for good,” Jefferson said after the game. “I don’t plan on flying away right now so I might as well win a championship.”
The 60th and last pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Jefferson played for the Brooklyn Nets and the Phoenix Suns and bounced around in the D-League, before suiting up for his first team overseas.
And he wasted little time in heeding coach Alex Compton’s words.
“He just told me to play my game,” the 6-foot-9 big man said. “Bring whatever I can to the team, athleticism, blocking shots and rebounding and doing what I can on offense.”
Jefferson, who arrived just late Thursday night and had one practice with the team, admitted he’s still feeling the effects of jetlag despite putting up solid performance.
“A little bit (jetlag),” the 26-year-old cager said. “Hopefully I take care of that tonight and hopefully get a good night sleep.”
Third time’s the charm for the Aces as coach Alex Compton bared they had a first-choice import, who suddenly backed out, before Ellis had to leave, also at the last minute due to a family emergency.
“It's been a crazy adventure this conference in terms of imports,” Compton said. “This past month, I felt like I aged about four to five years because getting an import is not the easiest thing in the world.”
“(Now) we got Cory, who, honestly, is the best of the three. So all that stress, grey hair, not sleeping, too much food keeping me up at night was worth it, especially Cory playing this way.”
It seemed Jefferson already impressed the crowd as he heard chants of “Co-ry” throughout the blowout win.
“I heard it. That's pretty cool,” he said with a smile.