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PBA Imports Fantasy Tournament Round 1: Allen Durham vs. Gabe Freeman

ESPN5

We continue the PBA Imports Fantasy Tournament, where we picked 24 imports from across eras and grouped them into two brackets, with eight seeded directly into the second round. The remaining 16 will duke it out in our online polls. Our writers will preview each match-up, and you get to vote for the winner here and on One Sports PH's Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

For the sixth match-up, Philip Matel previews a tight battle between multi-Best Import awardees Allen Durham and Gabe Freeman.

Allen Durham and Gabe Freeman are imposing imports who have proven that they can deliver their respective teams to the Finals as integral cogs.

Durham and Freeman both stand at 6'6", which is an important factor when playing as forwards. However, the hulking Durham plays more of a power forward, using his heft and his long arms for post play, while Freeman, who is about 20 pounds lighter, is leaner and more athletic.

ALLEN DURHAM

Durham holds the second most Best Import awards with three, four behind Bobby Parks, whom the award was named after.

Ever since the Grace Bible alumnus was signed by the Meralco Bolts for their PBA Governors' Cup campaign in 2016, Durham has served as the final piece in order for the team to compete.

As a squad that had struggled in the All-Filipino for the past years, Durham's presence fills the big gap inside, paving the way for Finals appearances for the Bolts in 2016, 2017, and 2019, which all ended in losses to Barangay Ginebra.

Durham operated in workhorse-like manner, doing the dirty work akin to past performances by his Bolts coach, Norman Black.

In his first-ever campaign for Meralco, Durham normed 29.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists, and steered the team to a Finals appearance, but got nosed out by Ginebra in the Finals, 4-2.

The very next year, Durham came back with a vengeance and led the Bolts to the top seed, earning another Best Import plum, tallying averages of 25.4 points, 20.06 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.3 blocks. However, the story remained the same as Ginebra dashed their hopes of a title in a championship series that went all the way.

Just last year, the retooled Bolts welcomed back Durham with open arms, and he repaid them with gaudy averages of 29.8 points, 15.4 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. Ginebra however, foiled Meralco's title hopes in the championship series once more, 4-1.

GABE FREEMAN

Freeman's above-the-rim play helped him cop two Best Import awards with the San Miguel Beermen in the late 2000s.

Just 23 years old during his first conference with San Miguel, Freeman's spry athleticism was enough for two Finals appearances in the 2009 and 2010 Fiesta conference.

Though less experienced than his Meralco counterpart, Freeman made it up in terms of endless effort.

The former Mesa Community College product also holds the championship edge over Durham, as he earned a title in 2009 after a hard-fought series against Ginebra in the Fiesta Conference Finals, 4-3.

Freeman was a sight to behold in that Game 7 victory, scoring 29 and hauling in 18 boards for the last Finals series of the decade.

He and his teammates tried to replicate the feat the very next year but were spoiled by the Alaska Aces, 4-2.

After his stints with San Miguel and Petron, Freeman suited up for Ginebra and Barako Bull in 2012.

Who wins this matchup? Cast your vote below or on our Facebook page.