By JONAS TERRADO
The series of import changes that became a norm rather than an exception in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup continued yesterday after Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Blackwater brought back Justin Brownlee and Henry Walker, respectively, in hopes of turning their fortunes around.
Brownlee was finally called up by Ginebra management after the crowd favorites a day after dropping to 1-3 in the midseason tournament while Walker is set to make his second stint with the Elite, who are at the bottom of the standings with a 0-6 record.
Both players are set to make their return next week when the action resumes after the All-Star matches in Davao, Batangas and Iloilo.
Ginebra and Blackwater were the latest teams to either make changes or still shopping for replacements after the first month of the eliminations, joining NLEX, Columbian Dyip, defending champion San Miguel, TNT KaTropa, Magnolia and Phoenix.
NLEX began the conference with Adrian Forbes but eventually tapped Arnett Moultrie after an unimpressive showing, Columbian got John Fields for CJ Aiken, San Miguel tapped Renaldo Balkman in lieu of Troy Gillenwater, TNT re-hired hulking Joshua Smith and Phoenix activated Eugene Phelps while placing James White on the injured list.
Magnolia, meanwhile, has yet to announce its replacement for Vernon Macklin, who left after accepting an offer to play in China.
Only Rain or Shine’s Reggie Johnson, Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku and GlobalPort’s James White are the only original imports left as their teams have been satisfied with the way they performed so far in the tourney.
Brownlee takes over from Charles Garcia as he tries to continue his habit of winning championships. He gave Ginebra two titles in the last two Governors’ Cup editions while teaming up with Balkman to help Alab Pilipinas capture the ASEAN Basketball League crown earlier this month.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone said Brownlee will immediately report to the team and will try to reacquiant with his teammates ahead of the June 1 match with Meralco.
Meanwhile, a Blackwater staff said Walker is due to arrive today to fill the post left by Jarrid Famous.
Walker will make his fourth PBA stint, almost leading the Elite to the semifinals of last season’s Governors’ Cup when they pushed top seed Meralco to the limit in their quarterfinal duel.