Far from the menacing looks of PJ Ramos and shy demeanor of Hamady N’Diaye, Augustus Gilchrist comes as a cross between the 2 former Mahindra (formerly Kia) imports.
Gilchrist always has this welcoming smile and youthful exuberance which the Enforcers hope could translate to a breakthrough conference in the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 26-year old former University of Southern Florida Bulls standout has large shoes to fill as the 7-foot-4 Ramos, who played in the NBA and Puerto Rico national team, and the shot blocking machine N’Diaye were 2 of the best imports who played last season in the PBA.
Ramos dished out monster numbers of 35.9 points and 21.2 rebounds per game for Kia in the Commissioners’ Cup while the 7-foot Senegalese big man N’Diaye was a defensive force averaging 17.6 points and 15.2 rebounds in the Governors’ Cup.
“I’m not really thinking about that. I’ll just do my best as a player. I’ll just go out there with the focus in my mind to be the best that I can be and help the team,” Gilchrist told FOX Sports.
Gilchrist will make his PBA debut on Friday against GlobalPort Batang Pier.
The 6-foot-10 American is in Asia for the 1st time after spending his 1st 2 years overseas in Italy and Hungary following a 2-year stint with the Iowa Energy in the NBA D-League.
“Coach Chito (Victolero) has been great as far as coaching and communicating. He’s making my adjustment here easy,” said Gilchrist referring to their assistant coach, who has been calling the shots for Mahindra sans their head coach Manny Pacquiao.
Gilchrist averaged 6.9 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Energy in the D-League, pedestrian numbers for someone who was hoping to get a call-up.
But he also had his moments and 1 of them was when he exploded for 29 points, hitting 10 of his 14 shots against the Austin Toros, the D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs.
At 26, he’ll be the 2nd youngest import this season next to fellow newcomer, Blackwater’s MJ Rhett.
“I’ve always been playing against older guys my whole life, so it won’t be a problem to me,” Gilchrist said. “I’m going to bring excitement.”
The Enforcers hope that Gilchrist will bring more than excitement to the expansion team that has yet to make it past the eliminations in its first four conferences in the league.
“I always believed in myself and in my team. Winning is always on my mind. I’ll go out there and play hard, try to win games and take it one game, one possession at a time,” Gilchrist said. “We’re ready for it.”