With one game left and playoff ramifications on the line, the Magnolia Hotshots (5-5) are looking to revamp their roster by adding ex-NBA player Rakeem Christmas as their reinforcement.
The former Indiana Pacer is set to replace James Farr after the team lost its last three outings. All in all, Farr played in nine games for the Hotshots and helped the SMC-backed squad in securing a playoff berth in the Commissioner’s Cup.
FOX Sports Philippines continues its “Here come the Imports” series, profiling each PBA team’s basketball mercenaries for the conference. The languishing Magnolia team welcomes Rakeem Christmas, as they seek to make some noise come into the postseason.
Rakeem Christmas played all of his four collegiate years in Syracuse where he has shown improvement year after year. He tallied norms of 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game in his last season of eligibility.
From there, he would showcase his wares in the NBA, suiting up for the Indiana Pacers for three years after being drafted 36th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. Christmas also suited up for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the NBA G-League where he emerged as an All-Star in the 2016 season.
After his stint in the NBA, the 27-year-old played for Galatasaray in Turkey, New Zealand Breakers in the NBL, and the Henan Roaring Elephants in China.
Fit with Magnolia?
Christmas will come in as the third NBA-caliber player in the import-laden Commissioner’s Cup. With that said, Christmas will add speed and length to the Hotshots frontcourt and they’ll need it as they’re almost certain to face either the Ginebra Gin Kings or the Blackwater Elite in the first round of the playoffs.
The New Jersey native is an excellent rim-runner and finisher inside the paint. He is also adept in fortifying his team’s interior defense by deterring shots with his defensive acumen and high-leaping ability. While he looks a bit leaner as opposed to Farr, Christmas has shown the capability to hold his ground against physical players.