Rain or Shine was forced to bring back former Alaska import Jason Forte after Greg Smith, the team’s replacement for Dior Lowhorn, went beyond the height limit.
Smith, a standout from Colorado State, exceeded the 6-5 height limit for American imports on Tuesday afternoon, prompting Guiao to make the quick call on Forte.
“Gabuhok sa kapal eh, ganun talaga,” Guiao told FOX Sports on Wednesday. “So si Forte na lang kinuha namin kasi siya ang pinkamabilis makalipad.”
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor said with his team set to play giant killer Mahindra on Friday, they were just fortunate to have Forte available just in the nick of time.
“Kulang na kami sa oras, so from Missisisippi, nag-drive na siya (Forte) to New Orleans and then sumakay na siya from there to LA then Manila,” shared Guiao, whose team also faces NLEX on Sunday.
Forte, who first played under Guiao with Burger King in 2010 before playing for Alaska for two conferences, is expected to arrive early Thursday morning. The 32-year-old Forte will only have a few hours of rest, before reporting for Rain or Shine’s practice at the Nega gym in San Juan.
Guiao mentioned that with just one day to practice, he expects Forte to play just 15 to 20 minutes, considering that the former Southern Mississippi standout will still be battling with jetlag.
But Guiao said Rain or Shine can capitalize on Forte’s athleticism in the succeeding games, along with his quickness.
“No. 1 is he can run with us because he’s quicker. He’s built to run the court and he’s very athletic,” noted Guiao.
“Iyung quickness niya can add to our defensive rotation although what we will lose is the size and the bulk. But he’s not a small player, mga 6-4 yan dahil measured siya as 6-4 dati.”
Forte owned PBA averages of 23.17 points, 15.29 rebounds, 3.50 assists and 1.29 blocks in 24 career games. – Richard Dy
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Photo taken from Jason Forte’s official Twitter account