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Stepheson not coming back, Elite search for replacement

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Alex Stephenson not returning to Blackwater (0:26)

Alex Stephenson will not be returning to play for the Blackwater Elite. (0:26)

Import Alex Stepheson isn't coming back, leaving the Blackwater Elite just a few days to find a replacement before Saturday's Commissioner's Cup game against NorthPort at the Cuneta Astrodome. Team governor Silliman Sy said Stepheson's condition turns out to be much more than just a bum stomach. The Blackwater team executive said the 31-year-old American got infected by E. Coli bacteria.

"He's (Stepheson) not returning anymore because he's got E. Coli bacteria in his stomach so now we're working on a replacement import," Sy told ESPN5 on Wednesday.

The Elite were expecting the 2016 All-NBA D-League First Team member to return by Thursday after heading back to the United States on June 14 to have his stomach checked by his personal doctor. But all that has changed since.

Meanwhile, Sy declined to give further details on Stepheson's possible replacement, pending talks with their prospect.

But should all else fail, Sy said the Elite might have to play all-Filipino again for the second straight time in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

The Elite zoomed to a 5-1 start in the mid-season conference behind the leadership of Stepheson and super rookie Bobby Ray Parks.

But without Stepheson last week, the Elite suffered a 127-106 beating at the hands of the San Miguel Beermen.

Stepheson averaged 22.17 points, 22.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.17 blocks in six games.