Meralco is eyeing the possibility of bringing resident import Allen Durham back into the fold in its 2019 PBA Governors' Cup campaign.
Coach Norman Black said the club has yet to reach an agreement with the two-time Best Import, who last played for the Shiga Lakestars in the Japanese B.League earlier this year.
"We just haven't decided what we're gonna do yet. But it's a strong possibility that AD (Durham) will be back," Black said. "We just have to settle things with him and see whether he's gonna come back or not."
The desire to bring back Durham mainly stems from the Bolts' import shuffle this Commissioner's Cup. Meralco started out with Gani Lawal, but he suffered a quad injury midway through the tournament and had to be replaced by Jimmie Lee Taylor. However, Taylor's unsatisfactory play forced the team to reactivate Lawal before ruling him out for good.
Meralco later settled with Delroy James until the end of the conference.
"Changing imports three times probably didn't help things at all. I think if you notice most of the teams that are doing well, they have their imports from start to finish. And that's always the case in the PBA: when you change, you're gambling, taking a chance," Black said.
Having Durham's dominance on the boards would be extremely beneficial for the Bolts, who could have used such a presence before they sputtered out of the playoff picture this conference. As effective as James was on offense, his rebounding (8.2 rebounds in four games) left so much to be desired for a Meralco team whose struggles on the glass (32.9 offensive rebounds per game, second to the last) were well-documented.
"He gives us what we need," Black said of Durham. "We gave up 22 offensive rebounds tonight so we really need somebody to man the paint and control the boards. I think that will help us. In the past he's been a perfect fit for us, hope we can work things out with him."
Until they can firm up something with Durham, Black and the rest of the Bolts will be left to rue chances that got away in a lost quest to reach the quarterfinals.
"I thought we played very well the last three games, came up on the wrong end two of those games but we were very competitive compared to some of our games earlier in the conference," Black said. "That's a big win for us against San Miguel (last Wednesday) and even tonight we should've won. It's certainly a game we could've easily won if we made our foul shots."