Rain or Shine will be changing its import with barely a week left before the Commissioner’s Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association.
Elasto Painters assistant coach Chris Gavina confirmed that Steve Taylor Jr. is on his way to Manila to replace Daniel Ochefu as their reinforcement for the midseason conference that opens on 21 September at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Gavina said Ochefu, a key member of US National Collegiate Athletic Association champion Villanova, is very talented, but Ochefu is a perfect fit to the system of new Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
He said the 29-year-old power forward is a shot-creator who can stretch the floor and will be perfect fit to the Elasto Painters, who won both of their titles during import-flavored conferences.
He played college ball for Marquette and Toledo – the same school as Gilas Pilipinas prospect AJ Edu – before going undrafted in the 2017 NBA Annual Rookie Draft.
Then, he plied his trades in countries like France, Hungary, Turkey and Italy before playing for the South East Melbourne Phoenix in the National Basketball League in Australia early this year.
The 6-foot-9 Taylor will join an Elasto Painters squad that plays a rugged, tough defensive game starring young plyers like Rey Nambatac, Santi Santillan, Gian Mamuyac, Andrei Caracut, Shaun Ildefonso and Anton Asistio with Beau Belga, Gabe Norwood and Jewel Ponferrada providing veteran presence.
“He fits our local players perfectly,” said Gavina, who embraced the role as assistant coach following Guiao’s return to the Painters last week.
“He is a legitimate shot creator who can stretch the floor. He shoots really well and plays solid defense. He is a perfect fit to the system of coach Yeng.”
The Elasto Painters will open their campaign against NLEX – Guiao’s former team – on 23 September at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
A Rain or Shine source clarified that Ochefu wasn’t injured.
He, however, failed to meet the expectations of Guiao, prompting the Elasto Painters to change their import in the final stretch of their preparation for the Commissioner’s Cup.
“He didn’t meet the expectations of coach Yeng,” the source said.
“But with the new import, coach Yeng will have the luxury of having someone who has an inside-outside game and can switch to defending from big men to small men. He is a perfect fit to his system.”
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