Monday, December 12, 2011

Crack import beefs up Philippine Patriots

MANILA, Philippines—No less than last season’s Best Import will reinforce the AirAsia Philippine Patriots who are leaving for a preseason tournament in Bangkok Wednesday.
Nakiea Miller, an athletic 6-foot-10 American, opted to suit up for the Patriots a year after copping the top import plum with the Westports Kuala Lumpur Dragons in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

Miller will team up with fellow American import Anthony Johnson, who had stints in the PBA, when the Patriots head into the final stretch of their training before the league fires off on Jan. 14.

Five of Season 3’s eight-team cast will clash in the fund-raising tournament, dubbed as “To Be No. 1 Basketball Challenge,” starting on Thursday.

Miller also saw action for Indonesia’s Satria Muda BritAma in the inaugural season.

“He’s a role player and we know he can deliver at crunchtime,” said team manager Erick Arejola. “Aside from being tall and mobile, one good thing about him is that he can shoot from afar.”

The 6-foot-6 Johnson, who had reinforced PBA teams Coca-Cola and Sta. Lucia, had a brief stint with the Patriots last season as he was hampered by a hamstring injury.

Former Smart Gilas mainstay Aldrech Ramos and veteran guards Al Vergara and Warren Ybañez lead the local Patriots, who have Glenn Capacio as their new coach.

The Patriots, champions of the inaugural season, aim to reclaim the crown they lost to the Chang Thailand Slammers last year.

Rounding out the squad are Marcy Arellano, Rob Wainwright, Jonathan Fernandez, Reed Juntilla, Erick Rodriguez, Ardy Larong, Eder Saldua, Angel Raymundo and Eddie Laure.

The San Miguel Beermen, the other Philippine team debuting in the home-and-away regional league, will also compete in the fund-raiser along with the Slammers, Singapore Slingers and the Bangkok Basketball Holdings Cobras.

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