Five imports we love to see in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup again

PBA imports come and go. One bad game and they can be shown the exit door.

But there are those who have endeared themselves to basketball fans because of exemplary performances that often lead to championships. They have become household names for those who diligently follow the PBA. But for some reason, they are not playing in the current edition of the Commissioner’s Cup. Thus, here are some imports that we’d love to see play again:

Robert Dozier

The former Memphis Tiger brought his bruising presence in the paint to power the Alaska Aces to win the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup title over Barangay Ginebra. In that conference alone, he posted averages of 20.3 points and 17.4 rebounds in 21 games played. The Best Import awardee had two more tours of duty in 2014 and 2016 Commissioner’s Cup and has not played in the PBA since. He is just 32 years old and there’s a lot left in his basketball tank. Maybe he is what the Aces need to clinch another title. Dozier last played for the Sanen Neophoenix of the Japanese B. League.

Denzel Bowles

Who can forget the two free throws that he knocked down to send Game Seven of the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup to overtime? Bowles and the B-Meg Llamados eventually won the game behind the Best Import awardee’s 39 points and 21 rebounds. The high-flying reinforcement returned to the San Mig Coffee Mixers the following year and the year after when the Purefoods Star Hotshots released Daniel Orton.

The former James Madison University standout had a third stint with the franchise but was released due to personal reasons. He was about to play for the TNT KaTropa last year but did not pass a physical and was dropped. Despite a lengthy Commissioner’s Cup career, Bowles is just 29 years old and at the prime of his playing years. Any PBA team will benefit from his explosiveness to the hoop and workhorse ethic.

Wayne Chism

That he led the NLEX Road Warriors to a dismal 2-9 record in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup does not equate to the all-around talent that he possesses. A big man that is agile on the post and deadly on the perimeter, Chism was named best import as he led the Rain or Shine to a runner-up finish in the 2015 edition of the said conference versus the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters.

He would return to the same franchise the following year but a hamstring injury ended his stint. Chism was then replaced by Antoine Wright who was the second of the four imports that the Elasto Painters signed to win the championship. Chism is just 30 years old and he last played for Al Manama of the Bahraini Premier League.

Ivan Johnson

The former Atlanta Hawk had experienced highs and lows for the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters. He has led the franchise to the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup against and Rain or Shine. But he is more known for the tirade against then-Commissioner Chito Narvasa in a game against Meralco in the 2016 edition of the Cup. This action led him to be banned for life and a Php 250,000 fine. But after issuing a public apology via Twitter, his sanction was reduced to a one-season suspension and a Php 150,000 payment.

While he has served that suspension, Johnson got a new lease in basketball when he joined the Ghost Ballers of the Big 3 Basketball Tournament. He also brought his brusing brand of game for Tanduay Alab Pilipinas of the Asean Basketball League before he and Reggie Okosa were replaced by Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman. It would be nice to see him win a second title in Philippine soil and erase his negative reputation.

Renaldo Balkman

Before the infamous choking incident of Arwind Santos happened, Renaldo Balkman actually led the Petron Blaze Boosters to a 5-2 record in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup. But the violent act initially merited a lifetime ban for the Puerto Rican. But the roadblocks to his return were cleared when his ban was lifted by Commissioner Willie Marcial.

Five years after that episode, he proved his championship mettle when he, Brownlee, and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. led San Miguel Alab Pilipinas to the ABL title against Mono Vampire. Given his impressive performance for Coach Jimmy Alapag, it will only be a matter of time before the athletic Balkman can call himself PBA import once more. Just like Brownlee, he is one of the few imports who have built a fan base in the country. Thus, Balkamania to hit the PBA floor yet again.

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