Nigerian import Kenny Adeleke’s PBA stint lasted just 2 games as Phoenix decided to bring in former Boston Celtics backup forward Kevinn Lamar Pinkney for the Fuel Masters’ Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign.
Phoenix coach Koy Banal confirmed the import change to FOX Sports on Friday after their original choice suddenly became available.
“Even before we decided for Kenny, we were already looking at Kevinn. His agent wasn’t able to contact him and we were pressed for time to bring in an import. Kenny Adeleke was a great find for us because he had helped us with our rebounding problem. He was a double-double import and he was the key in our win against NLEX. He was a part of that history, the first ever victory of the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the PBA,” said Banal, whose team will collide with the Tropang TNT on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Attitude-wise, Banal said Adeleke was a true professional, who worked his tail off during practice.
“But when we found out that Kevinn is available, we didn’t think twice in bringing him in. We are thankful for Kenny Adeleke’s professionalism. He accepted our decision like a real professional and I hope we can still have a chance to be together again in the future,” Banal added.
As for Pinkney, who arrived just Wednesday, he is expected to bring in strong inside game along with a solid rebounding according to Banal.
“Naka-3 days din kami na nag-ensayo with Kevinn,” he said. “He has a very high basketball IQ and is very professional. We know he can adjust.”
A product of the University of Nevada, the 32-year-old Pinkney went on to average 5.2 point and 2.5 rebounds in a 23-game stint with the Celtics in the 2006-07 NBA season.
Pinkney, who is fresh from a stint with the Al-Nasr Sports Club in the United Arab Emirates, will be matched up against TNT’s new import David Simon.
Simon banged in 35 points and grabbed 19 rebounds during his PBA debut on Wednesday in TNT’s 100-108 defeat to Alaska.
Banal said TNT’s 1-3 record is deceiving, as he stressed that the defending champion Tropa have the manpower to snap from their current 3-game losing skid.
“Medyo deceiving yun (1-3) because they lost to teams without an import,” explained Banal, whose team dropped a 90-87 decision to Meralco last weekend.
“The problem is they (Tropa) have a 1-3 card but they know very well they can easily bounce back and they have a very good import in Simon.” – By Richard Dy
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