THE import cast for the upcoming 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup is finally complete.
Talk ‘N Text and Phoenix have finally chosen their respective imports, both of them fresh faces, after not being able to strike a deal with their first choices.
The Tropang Texters acquired the services of former Kansas star Mario Little, who was instrumental for the Jayhawks in the NCAA Division I during his stint there. He last played in the Korean Basketball League for Anyang.
On the other hand, the Fuel Masters are tapping former USC Trojan and NBA D-League veteran Marcus Simmons as their reinforcement.
Both imports are set to arrive this week.
The hiring of Little and Simmons by Tropang TNT and Phoenix upped the number of new imports to four.
There are eight returning reinforcements.
The imports of the other 10 teams are: James White (Mahindra), Bill Walker (NLEX), Marqus Blakely (Star), Arizona Reid (San Miguel), Paul Harris (Barangay Ginebra), Eric Dawson (Blackwater), Dominic Sutton (GlobalPort), Allen Durham (Meralco), Dior Lowhorn (Rain or Shine) and LaDontae Henton (Alaska).
Initially, Talk ‘N Text already had NBA veteran Jason Maxiell as its original import, but he went over the 6’5” height limit upon measurement at the PBA office.
The former longtime Detroit Piston starter was officially measured at 6’5 11/16” in two measurements at the PBA office, making him ineligible to play.
Only Mahindra and Blackwater are allowed to have imports beyond 6’5”, with 6’9” as the limit, due to their poor performances in the first two conferences.
For Phoenix, the first option was Deandre Liggins, but a deal was never finalized.
Both Tropang TNT and Phoenix have a lot of catching up to do with their imports as the other teams are already practicing with theirs as early as last month.
The Texters, in particular, are hard-pressed to deliver in the season-ending conference as they have yet to find success this season even if they were considered a favorite to win a title in pre-season predictions.
In the two concluded conferences this season, TNT failed to even get past the quarterfinals.
With most of its stars busy playing for Gilas Pilipinas, Talk ‘N Text has also acquired a familiar face as its Asian import to shore-up its roster, tapping Syrian standout Michael Madanly, who played last season for NLEX, to boost their play at the wing.
When he played for NLEX, Madanly showed what he’s capable of doing as he provided the Road Warriors with solid play in the wing position with his slashing and shooting abilities.
An arm injury that Madanly suffered early in the Governors’ Cup hindered him from providing more help for NLEX but clearly, he was able to show his worth.
Still, he averaged 19.4 points and three rebounds for the Road Warriors last season in his first stint in the PBA.
Talk ‘N Text stars Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo and Ryan Reyes as well as Rosario are all loaned to the National team.
The season-ending third conference starts on July 15.