Sep 20, 2022

NBA 2012 class a gold mine for PBA imports

IT seems the NBA 2012 Draft has been the favorite hunting groud for PBA imports.

At least three members of the decade-long draft class are going to see action in the mid-season Commissioner's Cup which begins Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Most prominent of course, is Thomas Robinson of San Miguel, who was selected no. 5 overall by the Sacramento Kings.

A product of Kansas University, Robinson played for six seasons in the NBA and suited up for the Kings, Houston, Portland, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and LA Lakers.

Robinson, 31, is one of the Top 5 NBA picks to play in Asia's oldest play-for-pay league after Dennis Hopson and Chris Morris, who both suited up for Purefoods. Hopson was the third round pick by New Jersey in the 1987 draft and saw action for the Purefoods franchise in 1996, while Morris was picked no. 4 overall also by the Nets in 1988 and was import of the Hotdogs in 2002.

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While San Miguel coach Leo Austria is impressed with the credentials of Robinson, he said everything remains to be seen.

"Nakita na namin yung tapes and highlights niya and he's very good. But alam naman natin na not until we see him play during games, doon lang talaga natin malalaman yung tunay na laro niya," said Austria, whose Beermen are the defending champions in the conference they won in 2019 behind import Chris McCullough.

Also seeing action in the import-spiced tournament from the same 2012 draft class are Quincy Miller and Andrew Nicholson.

Miller was the 38th pick overall by Denver and will be playing for Converge, while Nicholson was a first round pick at no. 19 by the Orlando Magic and serves as import of guest team Bay Area Dragons.

Incidentally, also part of that NBA draft group headed by top overall pick Anthony Davis, are former imports Terrence Jones (no. 18 Houston) and Orlando Johnson (no. 36 Sacramento).

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Jones reinforced TNT in the 2019 Commissioner's Cup where the Tropang Giga finished runner-up to San Miguel, and with the 6-foot-9 product of Kentucky emerging as Best Import.

Johnson on the other hand, saw action for Barangay Ginebra and just recently, played for San Miguel in the last Governors Cup. (RG)