ALASKA hopes news of do-it-all import Robert Dozier’s return for another tour of duty in the Commissioner’s Cup could bring the much-needed confidence boost for a team that has struggled all throughout the Philippine Cup.
Dozier, the 6-9 former Memphis Tiger forward, played a key role in Alaska’s first PBA title outside the Tim Cone era when the Aces swept the Barangay Ginebra Kings, 3-0 in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals last season.
The Lithonia, Georgia native finished the mid-season conference last year with impressive numbers of 20.1 points, 17 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 2.5 assists en route to bagging the very first Bobby Parks-Best Import trophy.
“We’ve got Robert Dozier coming back. He’s signed up,” a beaming Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, whose team is struggling just to make the playoffs in the ongoing all-Filipino tournament, shared to Spin.ph.
“I’m happy to have Robert. He’s an awesome fine young man. I feel blessed he’s coming back again in the first week of February so we’ll have time (to prepare),” he added.
Trillo looked back fondly at the franchise’s first PBA championship since the 2010 Fiesta Conference under Cone, which he said makes the decision to bring back Dozier a no-brainer.
“We were like 18-4 (win-loss record). That year was the second-best winning percentage ever in the 27 years of Alaska (in the PBA),” recalled Trillo, who also earned Coach of the Year honors last season.
“We steamrolled Ginebra and swept our way in the Finals, so it’s very hard not to bring back a guy like that.”
However, Trillo said Dozier’s role may have to change a little bit from last year since he’ll have to play with imports of his size compared to last season when the Commissioner’s Cup allowed reinforcements with unlimited height.
“The dynamics are different now. It’s always different. The hunger factor is a question and how he will compete against smaller imports,” he said.
“Remember, the imports before were seven-footers, so his versatility worked to our advantage. Now, you want to see how he does against 6-8 (imports), who are his size.”
This season, the top eight finishers for the Philippine Cup will be allowed to recruit as tall as 6-9, while the ninth and 10th-placed squads will have an import celing of 6-11.