NLEX replaces Ashaolu with former NBA player Harris

NLEX wants to boost its bid for a first-ever PBA franchise championship by bringing in former NBA player Manny Harris to replace Olu Ashaolu in the 2019 Governors' Cup.

The Road Warriors are making an import change despite winning four of their first five games in the season-ending conference with Ashaolu.

The 30-year-old Harris is coming in with an impressive pro basketball credential, having played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks. Harris will replace Ashaolu, who averaged 22.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in five games.

"We thank Olu for helping us get to where we are, for the strong start this conference. But the opportunity to have Manny Harris opened up for us and we had to make the difficult decision -to grab the chance to realize a long-standing desire to have Manny play for the Road Warriors," coach Yeng Guiao said in an official statement by NLEX.

"Manny is a legit NBA talent who has the ability to impact the game on both ends, a proven scorer and defender-a winner in his chosen field."

The Road Warriors' lone defeat came over a week ago in their 98-94 loss to the grand slam-seeking San Miguel Beermen in Dubai. In that game, Ashaolu scored just 11 points, but did grab 20 rebounds.

A day later in the team's back-to-back games in Dubai, the Canadian-Nigerian reinforcement had a stronger offensive night, finishing with 25 points and seven rebounds, but fouled out late in regulation. NLEX managed to shock Barangay Ginebra, 113-111 in overtime after completing a comeback from a 28-point deficit.

Harris is coming off a stint with the Bahcesehir Koleji Istanbul in the Turkish League where he averaged 21.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the 2019 season. He will make his much-awaited PBA debut on Wednesday when the Road Warriors face the Columbian Dyip at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.