ABL mainstay completes cast of imports
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - February 5, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Brian Williams, a champion import in the Asean Basketball League, is hooking up with the GlobalPort Batang Pier, completing the imports roster for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup unfolding Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Williams, who teamed up with Gabe Freeman to help the San Miguel Beermen in a title run in the ABL in 2012, flew in Thursday morning and was to attend a first practice with the Batang Pier yesterday afternoon.

 Before suiting up for the Beermen, the Bronx, New York native played for the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the previous ABL season, coming through with averages of 20 points and 14.3 rebounds.

The well-built center/forward from University of Tennessee is fresh from a stint in the Uruguay league.

“He’s referred by agents. We’re hoping we find in him the import we’re looking for. We need a dominant inside presence to help achieve our goal,” GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio told The STAR.

“The immediate goal is to make the quarterfinals then hopefully we’ll be able to match our semifinal finish in the Philippine Cup,” Jarencio added. “The problem is that we’re preparing a bit late. All the other imports have long been in the country. Ours is just to start practicing with us.”

Other reinforcements seeing action in the mid-season tourney are 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), Rob Dozier (Alaska), Kenny Adeleke (Phoenix) and Tyler Wilkerson (SMB).

The Commissioner’s Cup fires off Wednesday at the Big Dome with a double-header pitting titleholder Talk n Text versus Blackwater then Star opposite Meralco.

GlobalPort had earlier expressed interest on Keith “Tiny” Gallon. But before they could approach the Milwaukee Bucks 2010 second-round draft selection, the 6-foot-9 player was acquired by an NBA D-League team from the Chinese league.

GlobalPort top official Erick Arejola insisted they’re after an inside presence that will complement their super backcourt duo of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle, the lead forces carrying GlobalPort to a Philippine Cup semifinal showdown with Alaska Milk.

The Batang Pier dismantled the Aces in Game One, before Alaska regrouped then dominated GlobalPort in the next four games to advance.

Jarencio only has Jay Washington, Doug Kramer, Billy Mamaril, Rico Maierhofer and Prince Caperal at his disposal for the frontcourt spots.

It has been their problem since joining the league in 2012.

In the Commissioner’s Cup last year, GlobalPort missed the playoff phase as it struggled for a 4-8 win-loss mark with imports CJ Leslie, Calvin Warner and Derrick Caracter.

In the Governors Cup, the Batang Pier got into the groove and finished fourth in the elims only to be eased out by the Star Hotshots in the quarterfinals. They tried their luck then with imports Patrick O-Bryant, Steven Thomas and Jarrid Famous.

ACIRC AL THORNTON ALASKA MILK ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE AUGUSTUS GILCHRIST BATANG PIER BIG DOME BILLY MAMARIL BRIAN WILLIAMS CALVIN WARNER AND DERRICK CARACTER PHILIPPINE CUP
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