Basketball

Powerade taps former SMART-Gilas prospect as import in Commissioner’s Cup

The Powerade Tigers may be in the midst of battle in the Philippine Cup finals, but it figures to be a contender in the next conference by tapping a highly-touted reinforcement.

Tigers top executive JB Baylon told InterAKTV that the team has signed 6-foot-11 NBA veteran Dwayne Jones for the Commissioner’s Cup, which imposes no height limit on imports. Jones is expected to arrive in Manila on Monday.

Jones is no stranger to Philippine basketball. He was identified by Rajko Toroman as a top candidate to join the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national program in 2010. But Jones, who was leading the NBA D-League at the time in rebounding, was called up by the Phoenix Suns, and the Philippine team instead ended up signing Marcus Douthit, who went ahead with the naturalization process.

A rebounding monster, Jones played parts of three seasons in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Bobcats, and the Suns in between stints in the D-League. He has played overseas in China the past two seasons.

The hiring of Jones continues a SMART-Gilas theme for the Tigers, who in the offseason drafted former national players JVee Casio and Marcio Lassiter and signed Toroman’s assistant Charles Tiu.

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