JUSTIN Harper put his NBA experience to good use as he shrugged off the effects a long flight to deliver in his debut for GlobalPort on Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup game against Meralco.
The new Batang Pier import, who has experienced the grueling travel in the NBA, having played in 24 career games in the league in three seasons, arrived at 4:30 a.m. on gameday after a 14-hour flight from the US and still pumped in 30 points and nine boards in the 94-86 win.
“I just thank God that I have the energy to help my team win,” Harper said after the game. “It's fun playing with them and I'm glad we were able to get a win against a really good team, so I'm just fortunate.”
“I just wanna come out here and play hard,” he added. “I knew it’s gonna be tough, but I just tried not to think about it (long flight), and just go out there and play my game and have fun doing it so luckily we were able to get the win.”
Harper, who last played in the NBA last March when he saw action for Philadelphia on a 10-day contract, jelled with his new team along with new locals Sean Anthony, Brad Guinto, and Jonathan Grey.
“I'm not just the new guy on the team so that helps, too, having some guys that are also trying to figure it out, too,” Harper said. “They helped out a lot today and just bringing me along and making sure I’m on the right spot, they helped a lot.”
Harper is hoping he’s not too late in leading the to the postseason after they won for just the third time in nine games to move closer to eighth-running Phoenix (4-5).
“All I can really do is play hard every night and show that I wanna make it to the playoffs, too,” Harper said. “So any means I can help the team win, that's why I'm here.”