June 30, 2017

Victolero hopes Cinmeon Bowers is perfect fit for Star

STAR coach Chito Victolero is hoping he has found a perfect fit in Cinmeon Bowers as the Hotshots' import for the PBA Governors Cup.

Bowers, fresh from a stint in Israel, is expected to plane in over the weekend and start practices with Star well ahead of the season-ending tourney that starts July 19.

"Sana bagay sa amin, kasi magagaling din ang mga imports ng kalaban," said Victolero, who took his own sweet time before deciding on the 24-year-old former Auburn Tiger.

Listed at 6-foot-7 but expected to easily make the import height limit of 6-5, Bowers is an undersized power forward who has a decent perimeter jumper yet does most of his work inside.

More important for Victolero, Bowers is also a hard-nosed defender that should make him an able match-up for the likes of Barangay Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee, last year’s Best Import awardee Allen Durham of Meralco and Phoenix’s prolific Eugene Phelps.

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“We would only know his true game sa actual na laro, but based on the tapes we viewed of him siya 'yung bagay sa system ko," related Victolero. "Mukhang makaka-up-and-down siya and defensively and offensively makakatulong.

“At saka siyempre iyung makaka-match up siya sa imports ng kalaban na alam naman natin naging successful dito sa conference na ito before, like Brownlee, Durham, Phelps.”

Brownlee led Ginebra to the Governors Cup championship last season and also boosted the Kings to third in this year’s Commissioner’s Cup despite being ranged against much bigger imports.

Durham was main reason Meralco finished runnerup to Ginebra in last year’s Governors Cup.

“Siyempre nandiyan din iyung (San Miguel Beer’s Wendell) McKines at saka iyung (TNT’s Michael) Craig. Kakampi ni (Ricardo) Ratliffe iyun sa Korea, eh.”

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Ratliffe was Star’s replacement import in the last two Commissioner’s Cups, powering the team to a fourth place finish in the mid-season conference’s most recent edition, while McKines has seen action for Alaska in 2013 and Rain or Shine two years ago in the same tourney, helping both teams go deep in the playoffs..

"Iyun ang mga tiningnan namin kaya naghanap kami ng import na makaka-match up sa mga iyun, mga tested na imports na talagang nakaka-perform,” said Victolero.

Bowers joins other newcomers in Craig, Trevis Simpson of Blackwater, Aaron Fuller of NLEX, GlobalPort's Jabril Trawick, James Weatherspoon of Rain or Shine and Mahindra’s Brandon Beasley while toting another balik-import is Alaska, which tapped LaDontae Henton.