WITH towering imports set to invade the PBA in the Commissioner's Cup, Purefoods big man Yousef Taha is confident he and veteran frontcourt mate Marc Pingris can handle the job.
Purefoods Star is set to play wingman Marqus Blakely in its first two games before former NBA player Daniel Orton becomes available, meaning the task of guarding imports will fall on the lap of the Hotshots' local big men.
Taha, however, is unfazed.
“I feel confident going up against all the imports because of my career trip all these conferences where all I did was to guard 6-9 and even seven-foot imports. Just big, solid imports. I’m ready,” Taha told Spin.ph.
Blakely would be the shortest import in the second conference at 6 feet 4 inches, as seven other teams are tapping the services of players standing up to 6’9 players and the four bottom teams in the Philippine Cup allowed to sign even taller imports.
At least three PBA teams have availed of the services of imports who stand seven feet and up led by KIA Motors, which is bringing in 7-3 Puerto Rican giant Peter John Ramos, Barako Bull (7-1 Nigerian center Solomon Alabi) and Blackwater (7-1 Chris Charles).
Taha said he’s ready to mix it up with foreign reinforcements, his confidence boosted by career-high numbers of 6.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in the Philippine Cup.
The young Purefoods center credits Pingris for his improvement.
Taha, who broke into the pro league as Air21’s 11th overall pick in the 2012 PBA Draft, said he enjoys hanging out with the 6-5 Pingris.
“I love it. We’re both kinda have the same high energy. We play tough defense, plus he’s a banger.”
The energetic Fil-Kuwaiti big man said he’s been trying to follow in Pingris’ footsteps since being traded to the Hotshots before last season’s Governors Cup.
“I love playing with Ping. He’s our leader. Where he goes, we go. I’m just following his footsteps, and the little things he does, I try to emulate,” added the 26-year-old Purefoods Star slotman.