March 10, 2017

2 NBA vets coming for 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup

The roster of imports in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup features six new names led by two legitimate NBA veterans in Sean Williams and Greg Smith.

Both known for their imposing inside game, Williams and Smith take their stuff with GlobalPort and Blackwater, respectively, in the mid-season tourney which unwraps March 17 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Williams, the No. 17 selection by New Jersey in the 2007 NBA draft, played with the Nets, the Dallas Mavs and the Boston Celtics. His huge inside presence could well complement the backcourt brilliance of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.

Smith, a major leaguer with the Houston Rockets, the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2012 to 2016, will be among the debuting PBA imports along with the Meralco Bolts’ Alex Stepheson, San Miguel Beer’s Charles Rhodes, the Star Hotshots’ Tony Mitchell and Alaska’s Octavius Ellis.

The Blackwater management and coaching staff worked hard to find a marquee import and their diligence paid off with their acquisition of Smith, a former All-WAC second team awardee with NBA playoff experiences with the Rockets in 2013 and the Mavericks in 2015.

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He had his best year in the NBA in 2013 where he played 70 games and averaged 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds as among the key reserves in the James Harden-led Houston Rockets team.

It was also the year when the Rockets brought in guard Jeremy Lin and center Omer Asik alongside Harden.

Smith’s rich experience could well be a big boost to the Blackwater team that narrowly missed the playoffs of the all-Filipino tourney.

Blackwater needs a dominant inside presence especially as the team is to lose Mac Belo and Arthur dela Cruz to the Gilas training pool.

Meanwhile, Williams is included in the short list of NCAA Division I players with 13 or more blocks in a game.

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As a Boston College player, he swatted away 13 shots against Duquesne on Dec. 28, 2006. He left his school as the leading shot blocker in the Big East Conference and ACC.

He showed his inside strength even in the NBA where he averaged 4.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 137 games.

He’s also a former CBA slam dunk king who last saw action in the Iranian league.