One game: that’s all it takes for San Miguel Beermen to decide to sack Richard Jeter, a former LA Laker. That’s how much value he is given in a league who wins on topping up better imports than other teams.
This is certainly not new, and neither is it surprising. Last season, the Philippines Patriots alone had 3 import changes. First, they did away Donald Little for Steven Thomas. Then, they replaced Anthony Johnson with Rashiem Wright. Then, they replaced Rashiem Wright with Gabe Freemen. And all of it took place within 15 games. They were not the only team. KL Dragons and Satria Muda did the same. For the Dragons, Jason Connor was replaced with Alex Hartman. Then, Alex Hartman was replaced with Justin Leigh. And Jason Killeen was replaced with Nakiea Miller….it goes on and on and on.
This makes me wonder if this is a flaw in the league that should be corrected: Teams replacing their imports like nobody’s business.
I have been getting a ton of b***s*** from Slingers haters saying that the Slingers are over-reliant on their imports and other teams are reliant on their local players.
Is that so?
Well, then, stick with the imports signed at the beginning of the season if the locals are the players you rely on? Stop complaining about the Slingers having no local pride. Because if your team is dishing away imports, you should jolly well keep quiet about yours.
Here’s local and team pride for the rest of the league: The Slingers are the only team thus far that stick to their original imports throughout the season for the two whole seasons.
This season, we played 2 games with an under-performing Donald Little and Vaughn Canta. Yet we won one, with our locals. Yes, I do feel upset that our imports are “underperforming” (if they can actually play better). Yes I’m upset because imports are paid higher than the locals, so I do expect a little more contribution from them. Little, for instance, has only 10 points and 7 rebounds in not 1, but 2 games. And Canta averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds. Yet, they are still with the team today despite their poor showing.
Time to get rid of them ? Nope.
What I do hope for our under-performing imports is for them step up their game, but not for them to be thrown away like some discardable/ dispensible object! There’s always another chance for them to better their performances the next game!
Our GM Michael Johnson says it well:
We do feel, however, that players are not commodities to be cut and traded at will. They are people trying their best and if they do train hard and play hard we will always try and stick with them.
Nice one, MJ! That’s our team’s professionalism and ethic for the rest of the league.
Here’s why Slingers didn’t win the championship last season. It’s not that we couldn’t. In the 1st season and the next, our team wasn’t far off from the champions, but it was the import upgrades that killed us and made us the underdogs (not that I’m whining about this). It feels greater being the underdog, because we are the underdogs with pride. We know we are playing with the same imports whom some other teams have bettered. Well, it doesn’t matter, because pulling that upset win at the end feels so much sweeter than an import upgrade mid-way through the season.
One reason why I respect last season’s Chang Thailand Slammer team so much is because their original team carried them all the way to the championship. Even through the games Chris Kuete was injured, the import that replaced him didn’t permanently take his place. After he recovered, Kuete got back into the line-up. That is commendable.
But, throwing away your import that helped win the “To Be Number One” Championship just after one (close) game?
Yes, San Miguel is hungry for the championship. So are the Slingers. But, to me, the means to the end matters.
That being said, I don’t think that my little article here will change the situation. We’ll see many more import changes coming.
Doug Thomas is the new big man for the Beermen. But will he still continue to be, as the season unfold?