NBA talent doesn’t guarantee PBA glory

Terrence Jones and Chris McCullough have been making waves in the PBA and re proving to be smart acquisitions for their respective ball clubs in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Jones has been a revelation in the league and has propelled the TNT KaTropa to the top of the standings with only one loss to their name. The star import also averages 34.5 points, 16.4 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per contest in ten games so far.

McCullough on the other hand came in a late replacement to former Commissioner Cup champion Charles Rhodes for the San Miguel Beermen. The move turned out to be the boost that the Beermen needed as McCullough exploded for 47 points in their debut game. Now, the Beermen are leaning on their new import for a desperate push for a spot in the playoffs.

Despite only playing a game, this Philippine fried chicken loving import could be the difference between an early elimination and a deep playoff run for the Beermen.

Jones and McCullough are two of the most thrilling imports in the 2019 edition of the Commissioner’s Cup, and share a common background of being NBA players. Jones in particular isn’t even far removed from being an NBA starter, and still dreams of a return to the NBA. It would be easy to fall into the trap of believing that having NBA talent guarantees championship glory in the PBA, but history tells us that has not always been the case.

This isn’t the first time that players with NBA-level talent have graced the PBA, in fact they have been coming over to the countries for decades. Looking at the history books shows us players like Billy Ray Bates, Tony Harris, and Wesley Matthews among many others thrilled Philippine hoop fans in the PBA.

Teams that brought NBA-caliber talent haven’t always succeeded. In fact the last PBA team to win a championship with a player with NBA experience was the also the TNT KaTropa with Ivan Johnson in the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup.

Since then, it has been the teams who fit well with their import that have been winning chips in the reinforced conferences of the PBA. In fact, it has been Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee — a player with no NBA experience — that has had the most success in the league as an import in recent times. Ask most Ginebra fans, and it wouldn’t be surprising if they prefer their resident import to an NBA player in their team.

Despite history not guaranteeing trophies after bringing in NBA talent, that doesn’t mean it hurts your chances. In fact, it boosts it considerably. Jones in particular has been firing at all cylinders for a KaTropa team that has been playing great basketball throughout its roster. While McCollough could be the guy to spark the dangerous San Miguel Beermen to something special this conference.

You could make championship arguments for both ball clubs this conference. But the great thing for the fans is that, we don’t know who will come away with the ring despite the NBA-level talent gracing the PBA hardcourt on a nightly basis.