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Cone taps NBA D-League MVP as Ginebra import

Minnesota Timberwolves' Othyus Jeffers (right) is guarded by Portland Trail Blazers' Keith Biogans during the first half of their NBA summer league basketball game in Las Vegas last July. | AP File Photo/John Locher

MANILA, Philippines – Since size is not a problem at all, Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone bared they are bringing in former NBA D-League co-MVP Othyus Jeffers as the Kings’ import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The American coach explained that Jeffers has been in his radar for years, having seen him play in the NBA D-League. And he intends to stick with Jeffers through the Governors Cup if possible.

“We have a 7-footer and a 6-10 guy already so what we need now is a guy who we can keep till the third conference and that’s Othyus,” Cone told Philstar.com on Monday.

Ginebra’s “Twin Towers” led the team in scoring in rebounding in the Philippine Cup as Greg Slaughter averaged 22.6 points and 14.4 rebounds per contest, while Japeth Aguilar submitted 15.7 points and 8.1 boards.

Jeffers, the former Robert Morris University standout, is listed well within the 6-5 ceiling but could easily play the wing spot or the power forward position if needed.

The 30-year-old Jeffers had a one-game stint with Talk ‘N Text during the 2014 Commissioner’s Cup, dropping 38 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to lead the Tropang Texters to a 105-99 win over sister team Meralco.

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But PBA fans failed to see him play the rest of the conference due to a contract issue he had with the Minnesota Timberwolves at that time, prompting Jeffers to leave his team prematurely.

And since it has been over a year since Jeffers played for Talk ‘N Text, the hard-banging American forward can join any PBA team.

Cone felt Jeffers could fit in to what the Kings intend to do, especially since the 2009 NBA D-League Rookie of the Year is noted for his blue-collar attitude.

As it is, the 58-year-old Ginebra coach expects the former NBA journeyman to arrive in Manila on or before January 18.

Cone added that they intend to build on the gains the team had during the latter stages of the Philippine Cup, which saw Ginebra win seven of its eight games, before getting bundled out by GlobalPort, 92-89 during the knockout stage of the quarterfinals.

“I think we can grow from here. I feel we’re in a step towards the right direction but we just need to do a lot better in the succeeding conferences,” he added.

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