10 Best Imports of the 2015-16 PBA season

By sydrified
Nov. 07, 2016

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The 2016-17 PBA season is fast approaching and as preview to what the future holds, let’s look back and check out the imports that did everything well for their respective teams in the past season.

Among the hired guns that almost made the list are San Miguel’s Elijah Millsap, Mahindra’s James White, Star’s Ricardo Ratliffe, TNT’s David Simon, and Rain or Shine’s Pierre Henderson-Niles.

Now if you’re puzzled as to why PHN is off the top ten even if he helped Rain or Shine capture the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship, then maybe you need to check out his numbers as he is the only import alongside Ivan Johnson and a battalion of Asian imports to average in single digits.

Now let’s return to the list.

Game starts now.


10 – OTHYUS JEFFERS
2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup
Barangay Ginebra Kings


When he debuted for the Kings, the former TNT import barely escaped a devastating knee injury. Actually, I doubt if people saw him favouring or playing tentative because of said injury. Jeffers started and finished for the Kings in the Commish Cup with averages of 22.5 points, 15.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.5 steals in 41 minutes of action. His intention of bringing the Kings to the promise land took a turn for the worst when they faced eventual champs Rain or Shine in the quarterfinal round.


9 – ROBERT DOZIER
2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup
Alaska Aces


Rob Dozier debuted in the PBA in 2013 boasting the fact that he was one of Derrick Rose’s main backups during their college run for the Memphis Tigers. When he replaced Shane Edwards in the middle of the Commish Cup, he was known as the former Best Import that once led the Aces to the top of this conference. The old reliable came to work but was unable to stop Rain or Shine’s championship drive. In 15 games, Dozier averaged 19.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 blocks in 39 minutes of action.


8 – HENRY WALKER
2016 PBA Governors’ Cup
NLEX Road Warriors


Months before signing with NLEX, Henry Walker averaged 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds in 26 minutes of action for the Miami Heat. The former Alaska import started his NLEX campaign by scoring 44 points. He would rip the 30-point barrier in six of his eleven games. Despite giving the Road Warriors his all every game, Walker faced a roadblock in former NBA player and returning import Elijah Millsap. Before San Miguel ousted NLEX, Walker had 32.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.3 steals in nearly 43 minutes per game.


7 – LADONTAE HENTON
2016 PBA Governors’ Cup
Alaska Aces


It’s unfortunate that Alaska acquired the services of the current Santa Cruz Warrior at a time of struggles. Injuries to Calvin Abueva and Vic Manuel, the release of Cyrus Baguio, and even luck led to an underwhelming finish capped by the quarterfinal beatdown from former star player LA Tenorio. But to say that LaDontae Henton didn’t do his best is just insane. In 12 games, Henton averaged 31.5 points, 12 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.4 blocks in 39 minutes.


6 – TYLER WILKERSON
2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup
San Miguel Beermen


Before Tyler Wilkerson went insane on San Miguel (leaving without notice that prompted the Beerman to use Govs Cup import Arizona Reid), he went ballistic on the rest of the league. In fact, if he just trusted his teammates and brought in team harmony, he should have been the conference’s Best Import. Because of Wilkerson, San Miguel raced on top of the elimination round thanks to his shot-making goodness. At one point Wilkerson had 52 points... with a 46-pointer also in the mix. He finished his SMB stint with averages of 36.6 points, 14.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.4 steals in 43 minutes.


5 – AL THORNTON
2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup
NLEX Road Warriors


The high-scoring NBA vet returned for his second tour of duty as if to rewrite the wrongs for NLEX. Al Thornton is no stranger to offensive outbursts – as exemplified to his 5-point scoring average increase. Unfortunately for Thornton, this improvement served no purpose in the Road Warriors’ drive to the top as they were eliminated by the Meralco Bolts in the quarterfinal round. Regardless, this balik import finished the conference with averages of 36.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 0.9 blocks in nearly 43 minutes of gameplay.


4 – EUGENE PHELPS
2016 PBA Governors’ Cup
Phoenix Fuel Masters 


Three games after his PBA debut, Phoenix dropped the ineffective Marcus Simmons. His replacement... is former Long Beach State forward Eugene Phelps. The virtual unknown doesn’t even have a Wiki page... but that didn’t stop him from making a lasting impression. The scoring juggernaut is just what the doctor ordered for the Fuel Masters – sending Phoenix to the quarterfinals (they would lose to TNT after) while in the process, destroying Rain or Shine’s Govs Cup run. In ten games, Phelps would end up with 36.4 points, 19.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 0.8 blocks in nearly 43 minutes of game play.


3 – JUSTIN BROWNLEE
2016 PBA Governors’ Cup
Barangay Ginebra Kings


We all know what Paul Harris can do. He is a former best import that once led Talk N Text to championship goodness. But little is known about Justin Brownlee prior to his PBA stint. This is why when the former got injured and the latter took over, people saw it as Ginebra’s worst case scenario especially with Greg Slaughter out and all the calls for The Fast and the Furious tandem to retire. But Brownlee will take hero ball to a new level as he literally took the ball and became a hero right after. Brownlee became the poster boy of what Ginebra needs to be and the overachiever will be forever remembered by fearlessly snacking on Allen Durham’s defense en route to that championship game winner. With averages of 28.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks in nearly 41 minutes of action, it’s a given that Brownlee could return to the league next season regardless of size issues.


2 – ARINZE ONUAKU
2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup
Meralco Bolts
Best Import Awardee


If there’s one thing good about the Meralco Bolts – it’s their impeccable choice of imports. Before this guy flew in, everybody thought the Bolts were tanking to possibly acquire the likes of Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena in the 2016 PBA Draft. But like I said, Arinze Onuaku flew in... and Meralco all of a sudden became a force to be reckon with. Sure his averages are from exceptional. Onuaku only had 18.7 points, 17.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 41 minutes but he gave the Bolts fangs. Meralco almost made the finals – no thanks to Alaska – and gave Onuaku the Best Import title. No wonder he’s the only PBA import that made the NBA’s opening day roster this season (although he has yet to play for the Orlando Magic as of this writing).


1 – ALLEN DURHAM
2016 PBA Governors’ Cup
Meralco Bolts
Best Import Awardee


To state the obvious, this guy is truly a beast. Dubbed The Hulk, Allen Durham can power his way to the basket with relative ease, can score far from the basket when the opportunity presents itself, is no slouch in defense, motivates his team to dream big, and is pretty much the heart and soul of Meralco when they starred in their first ever PBA finals. If you saw the final two minutes of that fateful sixth game, the Bolts lived and died with the former Barako Bull import. If you think about it, he wasn’t even Meralco’s first choice. Even with a broken nose, Durham did everything right to secure his spot in the team. So look for Durham to take his vengeance on Ginebra next season. He could even duplicate his Best Import honor! In 23 games, Durham finished with 29.2 points, 15.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 42 minutes of action.



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