IT has been well-documented that PBA imports are normally given a short leash, especially if they’re new in the Philippine basketball scene. However, there are the “ol’ reliables” on who teams can lean on when the need arises.
But sometimes, due to unforeseen circumstances, these resident imports will be eventually seen donning different jerseys, which may normally take some time for us to get used to.
Today, FOX Sports PH looks at some of the resident imports who switched teams.
Arizona native Gabe Freeman burst into the PBA scene as one of the more explosive imports in recent memory, as his game is predicated on his nose for the ball and his ability to finish well in the interior. The hardworking reinforcement played mostly for the San Miguel franchise, where he won one PBA championship in 2009 and was named the Best Import for two straight times. However in April 2012, Freeman signed to play for the Barako Bull, where he still churned out his usual numbers as he towed them to the playoffs. Since then, Freeman has had stints in the Canada’s NBL, ABL, and in Iraq.
Before becoming a mainstay for the San Miguel Beermen, AZ Reid was tapped by then-head coach Yeng Guiao to play for the Rain or Shine franchise where he has earned for himself two Best Import citations and a runner-up finish in the finals. After playing for the Pilipinas MX3 Kings in the ABL back in 2015, he found his way back in the PBA – this time to the Beermen where they won the Governors’ Cup title in which he clearly outplayed Alaska’s Romeo Travis. He endeared himself to the fans by being a no-nonsense player who possesses quite a versatile offensive arsenal. Other than his multiple tours in the PBA, the South Carolina native has had playing stints in Switzerland, Finland, Australia, Lebanon, Germany, among others.
For the most part, Wayne Chism has followed Yeng Guiao in his tours of duty in the PBA – having played for Rain or Shine and for the NLEX Road Warriors. However, just a few months ago in the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup, Chism was recruited to play for a few games with the Magnolia Hotshots. Even Yeng Guiao found it weird in having to face against him but he acknowledged that the former Tennessee standout is already familiar with the Philippine brand of basketball as he has earned for himself a Best Import nod in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.
In the early 2000’s, Derrick “Flight” Brown was known as one of the PBA’s flashiest imports because of his play while sporting his baggy shorts. He was virtually unstoppable particularly in the open court and he would score often at a prolific rate, normally at the 30-40 point range every game. His heroics have towed the Purefoods franchise to the league’s best record in 1999 but they came up short in the semis against Alaska. After having a few more cracks at trying to win a title, Brown finally won the elusive crown in 2002 where he teamed up with fellow import Kelvin Price. Soon after a short hiatus, Brown found himself playing for the Sta. Lucia Realtors in 2004 where he averaged a whopping 40.4 points per game. He also had stints playing in Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
Largely known for his clutch performance during Game 7 of the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup Finals, Denzel Bowles has had a lot of ups and downs when it comes to talking about his PBA career. Having played mostly for the B-Meg/Purefoods franchise, it is clear as to why “Monster” Bowles has dominated early on – as he’s very athletic and has a reliable outside shot. The Virginia native played for around two more years for the franchise but controversy has followed him during the said stretch as he’s had a frayed relationship with then-coach Jason Webb to the point that the enigmatic import vowed to never play again for the team.
He would find himself back playing the Philippines as he was tapped to be TNT’s import for the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup. However, team manager Virgil Villavicencio decided to cut him citing his conditioning issues and unprofessional attitude. Since then, Bowles has had stints playing in places like the NBA D-League, Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Israel, Paraguay, and Japan.
Another former Purefoods’ resident import makes it in the list in Marqus Blakely. The former Vermont standout is primarily known for his hustle and tenacity – particularly on the defensive end where he made his mark and he is no slouch on offense either as he can bang his way down low against bigger counterparts. Blakely played for the Purefoods/Magnolia franchise, spanning from 2012 to 2016 where he won two PBA championships and a Best Import award in the 2013 Governor’s Cup.
Currently, he is set to play for the TNT Katropa in the 2018 Governors’ Cup.