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SMB taps ex-Marshall U teammate of Ross, Lutz as import

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (Philstar.com) - February 4, 2016 - 1:24am

MANILA, Philippines – Tyler Wilkerson, teammate of San Miguel Beer Fil-Am players Chris Ross and Chris Lutz at Marshall U, will be the import the Beermen bank on in a bid to achieve a three-peat feat in the coming PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Though listed only as a 6-foot-8 center/forward, Wilkerson could well be a key reinforcement with his ability to play facing the basket and with his back to the basket.

“He’s highly recommended by Chris Ross and Chris Lutz. He can play inside and out,” said Austria, hopeful they’ve learned their lesson from their sad experience last year.

After winning the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup crown, the Beermen struggled in the next tournament obviously because of the championship hangover. They got off to a poor start and failed to make it past the elims.

“We’re not able to prepare well last year. With that in mind, we flew in our import much earlier this time,” said Austria.

Wilkerson will be ranged against a tough cast of imports, including Ivan Johnson (TNT), Malcolm Rhett (Blackwater), Denzel Bowles (Star), Malcolm Thomas (Meralco), Augustus Gilchrist (Mahindra), Othyus Jeffers (Ginebra), Al Thornton (NLEX), Wayne Chism (Rain or Shine), Kenny Adeleke (Phoenix) at Rob Dozier (Alaska).

Going undrafted in the NBA in 2010, the Lexington, Kentucky native, 27, instead has strutted his wares in Israel, Korea and Puerto Rico.

He was signed by the San Antonio Spurs in 2012 but was later assigned to the Austin Toros in the NBA D-League.

At Marshall U, he made a reputation as a player with a knack for getting the rebounds.

Meanwhile, Ivan Johnson of TNT is suspended for a game and fined P50,000 for punching Blackwater’s JP Erram and Frank Golla in a scuffle that marred their tune-up match at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center inside Ateneo Saturday.

Johnson serves the suspension in the opening game of the Commissioner’s Cup between the Texters and the Elite on Feb. 10 at the Big Dome.

ACIRC AL THORNTON AT MARSHALL U ATENEO SATURDAY AUGUSTUS GILCHRIST AUSTIN TOROS BEERMEN BIG DOME CHRIS ROSS AND CHRIS LUTZ DENZEL BOWLES IVAN JOHNSON
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