By WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – Unless NBA veteran Jake Voskuhl improves his performance this pre-season, Rain or Shine is leaning towards replacing him as the Elasto Painters’ import for the Commissioner’s Cup set to start on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-11 Voskuhl, who played nine seasons in the NBA with five different teams, was unimpressive in Rain or Shine’s first pre-season game against Meralco.
Today, the Painters will face the Petron Blaze Boosters and this should be Voskuhl’s last chance to prove his worth to be the reinforcement of the Yeng Guiao-mentored squad that is hoping to duplicate its semifinal stint in the previous Philippine Cup.
“We’re still giving him chance. We’ll probably know after our game against Petron (today at Acropolis Gym),” Rain or Shine team manager Boy Lapid said. “Maybe he’s still adjusting, regaining his form since he’s not been playing for several months.”
A former standout of Connecticut, Voskuhl was originally selected 33rd overall (second round) by the Chicago Bulls during the 2000 NBA Draft. He also had stints with the Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors.
He was signed to a non-guaranteed contract by the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the 2010-11 Season, but was waived the on Oct. 9. Voskuhl has career averages of four points and 3.4 rebounds per game in the NBA.
Lapid said that they are already looking at two prospects, but refused to reveal their identities.
The Painters were a win short of advancing in the Finals of the all-Filipino conference, losing to the Powerade Tigers in Game 7 of their best-of-seven semifinal showdown. Rain or Shine has kept its roster intact for the second conference.
Guiao’s team will open its Commissioner’s Cup campaign on Feb. 12 when it tackles Alaska at the Big Dome.
The conference will start with a pair of matches featuring Barako Bull against Alaska, and B-Meg opposite Meralco. The Energy will have DerMarr Johnson, another NBA veteran, the Aces tabbed Matt Saryas, the Llamados will be reinforced by Denzel Bowles and the Bolts will rely on Jelani McCoy.
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