Alaska import Robert Dozier had a rough debut this conference after picking 3 fouls in the second period while having to defend NLEX’s high-scoring import Al Thornton on several occasions during the game.
But with locals Calvin Abueva and guard RJ Jazul making the big plays down the stretch, the Aces managed to eke out a 104-98 win on Friday.
“For my first game, I think I had the hardest challenge, having to guard Al which was unfortunate,” Dozier said, who missed the team’s first 10 games due to a plantar fasciitis injury on his left foot. “But I had fun for my 1st game, get the feel and get my feet wet.”
Dozier, best remembered for leading Alaska to the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup, managed to finish the game with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds in under 30 minutes of play.
The former Memphis Tiger forward said there’s absolutely no pain anymore on his left foot. And it shows after collecting 2 blocks as well, providing the solid interior defense for Alaska when he’s on the floor.
The former PBA Best Import also thanked Alaska’s stand-in import Shane Edwards for holding for the fort for him while he was still recovering from the injury.
With Edwards in tow, the Aces managed to reach the quarterfinals after posting a 6-4 record.
“Shane’s definitely much appreciated. He definitely left us in a good position,” said the 30-year-old Dozier. “Without him, we could have gotten another import, but he’s a great person. — By Richard Dy