Sunday, May 6, 2012

Denzel Bowles and the impact of imports in the PBA. by Jutt Sulit

By Jutt Sulit (@juttsulit)

Jimmy Alapag – reigning MVP, former Rookie of the Year, 2-time Finals MVP.
Jayson Castro – 2-time Finals MVP, reigning Most Improved Player.
Kelly Williams – former Rookie of the Year, former MVP.
Ryan Reyes – former Rookie of the Year, 3-time All Defensive Team.
Larry Fonacier – former Rookie of the Year, former Finals MVP.
Japeth Aguilar – 6’9”.

These players, along with their credentials, banner Talk N’ Text. People say it’s a dynasty in the making. On paper and on the court, TNT is a powerhouse.  But they aren’t invincible, especially when an additional factor comes to play – the import.

I’ve come across one too many people saying that they only watch the PBA when it’s the All-Filipino conference.  Their noble reasoning: imports overshadow the locals and mas enjoy daw kapag walang import.


I think imports play a bigger role in the league than what most of us think. They balance out the competition and allow for the weaker teams to have a shot at the trophy.

Unfortunately, for the weak, imports also solidify the already strong. Case in point, Denzel Bowles. He is the biggest reason why the Llamados are in the PBA Finals right now. I really thought Talk ‘N Text would easily take the championship series. But B-MEG kept on winning. How could I have underestimated a team that took the top seed in the previous conference? Oh yeah, maybe because they got knocked out by the 8th-seeded team. This conference, however, B-MEG got their well-deserved Finals appearance. It’s greatly because of Bowles. Regardless of what happens in game 7, Momma Bowles should be proud.

That is not taking away the possibility of an import leading the downfall of a team. Recently, we saw two of the greatest displays of ‘patalo’ imports in Jackson Vroman and Earl Barron. Ginebra lost because Vroman couldn’t control his emotions. Meralco lost because, for some reason, Earl Barron thought he was Michael Jordan. He missed seven straight shots in the crucial minutes of their do-or-die game against B-MEG in the quarterfinals. That includes a three-pointer. We all know what happened after.

Back to the good stuff. More imports might mean more dunks. We’re tired of Asi’s ‘barely making it to the rim’ dunks. We want more Chris King baseline throw-downs – circa 2000 or Urbiztondo to Bowles off-the-backboard alley-oops. When imports are around, we realize it doesn’t hurt to have more than one dunk per game.

It’s also refreshing to see 7-footers who can actually play ball. Truth is we have talented local big men in the league. But some of them probably think they can just come over and dominate because of their height or NCAA Division 1 experience. Thus, they end up sulking on the bench.

The importance of foreign blood in the association is underappreciated. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy the All-Filipino conference perfectly well. I just happen to argue that having imports is, aside from fun, advantageous to teams and fans. The only team that may find it disadvantageous is – yes, you guessed it – Talk N’ Text. I believe the presence of imports makes for healthy competition in the league. By ‘healthy competition’, I mean there’s an actual possibility of Talk ‘N Text not winning a Game 7.

That being said, time to pick imports.

Dibs on Lamont Strothers. JS

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