I asked someone from Star how good their import was before their game against the Blackwater Elite.
Semifinalists in the first two conferences of the season, the Hotshots know they’re right at the cusp. A few breaks here and there and they could have been in the finals both times. Now, anything less than another top four spot could be considered as a disaster.
“You should just see for yourself in the first few minutes of the game,” he answered. It raised red flags immediately. Usually, the answer would always be positive. Even if the import is not that talented, those from his team would tell you he has good motor or is a great team player. Now, the answer I got was vague and non-committal.
Cinmeon Bowers was not bad in the Star Hotshots first game in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup. He finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists in 30 minutes of play while shooting 55% from the field. Bowers did not impress a lot of people as Blackwater’s Trevis Simpson had a much better performance, but at least he was not Jabril Trawick bad and his team got the win.
Bowers had a great look with his first touch of the ball but decided to pass it off to Rafi Reavis who was already angling for a rebound. He was also blocked by Poy Erram early in the first quarter. However, Bowers played better as the game went on and he helped Star get a win.
Then, less than 24 hours after, it was made public that Star will replace Bowers with the younger Malcolm Hill and, if you read this article, it’s obvious that his performance in the first game was immaterial as they already signed a replacement.
It was a tough situation to be in for Bowers. He lost about 40 pounds in preparing for this conference as the former 280-pounder looked light on his feet against the Elite. However, there was very little he could do to look impressive. Even if he got monstrous numbers, these could be brushed aside as it came in a game against one of the perennial minnows of the league.
Chances are we may never see Bowers in the PBA again, which does not make him a bad player. He could be successful as a complimentary elsewhere and could have been a good second import in those conferences when the PBA still had those but he is not what Star needs right now.
Still, I feel bad for Bowers as he seemed like a good guy. And when you consider everything he had to overcome to play basketball again (ie., recovering from getting shot five times in the leg in 2011), he’s the kind of guy we should cheer for.
But you also have to understand why Star let him go. They had an outstanding import last conference in Ricardo Ratliffe and it still was not enough to overcome the San Miguel Beermen. They need someone to help them break the glass ceiling and Bowers did not look like he would be that guy.
Kumbaga, mabait naman. Hindi lang talaga siya yung The One.
Now the Hotshots are pinning their hopes on a 22-year-old forward in Malcolm Hill who played for the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He averaged 17.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3 assists per game and was a 36% shooting from the three-point range in college, according to DraftExpress.
Although he’s not yet proven as a professional, Star is hoping that he could have the same effect that a young James White had for Mahindra in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup.