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Isaac likens Blackwater import MJ Rhett to Chris Bosh

Mississippi forward M.J. Rhett (4) dribbles up court past Southeast Missouri State forward Aaron Adeoye (24) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, in Southaven, Miss. Rhett was tapped by Blackwater Elite to become their import in the PBA Commissioner's Cup. AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

MANILA, Philippines -- Blackwater coach Leo Isaac has high hopes of following up its first-ever playoff appearance this season after tapping former Ole Miss Rebel big man Malcolm “M.J.” Rhett as its import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The 54-year-old Isaac described the 240-pound Rhett as a left-handed forward-center, who he likens to Miami Heat star big man Chris Bosh.

“Marami kaming mga videos na pinanuod na import prospects for the team, but initially, si MJ ang may gut feel ako kaagad and he’s a lefty na parang Chris Bosh,” Isaac told Philstar.com, whose team began preparing for the import-spiced conference last Monday.

Pairing the young and energetic Rhett with vastly improved center JP Erram and rookie gem Art dela Cruz at front court also gives the Elite the additional rebounding and scoring punch.

In the all-Filipino conference, Blackwater was just eighth in rebounding with its 48.6 per game average.

The youthful Rhett is actually fresh from a stint with the BK Barons KVartals Riga in the Latvian League where he posted averages of 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds in over 26 minutes of action.

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Isaac felt Rhett is much more motivated to show his wares with Blackwater, especially after failing to make it to the NBA last year.

“Pakiramdam ko, he (Rhett) wants to prove something because he went undrafted in 2015. So gusto niyang bigyan ng chance yung sarili niya,” he added.

The Blackwater mentor said the 23-year-old American is quick for his size, has a decent mid-range game and can even bang bodies inside.

“He’s got a decent touch from the outside,” he said. “Pero ang gusto ko sa kanya, he’s athletic and is actually quicker for his size kasi parang ang gaan ng katawan niya.”

The Elite could be a faster team in the mid-season, import-spiced conference with third-year pro Carlo Lastimosa anchoring the team’s offense, while playmaker Mike Cortez providing leadership.

Blackwater, which won just four times in all of last season, improved to 10th place in the Philippine Cup this season behind its 3-8 win-loss record.

The Elite made it to the playoffs for the first time, but bowed to powerhouse Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 95-90 in the initial quarterfinal phase.

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