As expected, Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas placed 5th in the recently concluded 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Chenzhou, China — that is after beating Mono Vampire BC of Thailand, 89-79, where import Isaiah Austin recorded 37 points, 15 boards, 6 assists and 6 blocks.
Austin’s domination was not surprising though, after all, Chooks already faced the Thais earlier and won, 115-102 — so, both teams are already familiar with each other; however this game though was like fighting for reputation especially for Austin and the rest of the Philippine team. So.
But then, was this ‘dominating’ game enough to say that Isaiah Austin has been a good pick-up for Chooks-to-Go, and for Gilas to build with? More so, who’s the better import — Austin or Andre Blatche? Hmm. One game is only one game and Austin’s 7-game Champions Cup stats and physical makeup says he’s just an ‘average’ import — who may not be strong and fast but could maneuver in the post, not bad in free throws, rebounds well enough and is a pretty decent rim protector. Of course, all of these with consideration to the kind of competition he has faced in Chenzhou, China.
Nonetheless, if only for experience then Andre Blatche gets the nod here what with seven years in the NBA as well as greater familiarity with what Gilas does. Then again and in the case of basketball, experience only matters in one’s first game; after that baptism of fire, the player’s performance now really depends on his skills, character and to some extent — luck.
Okay, as an import, what are you expected to do anyway? Everything?? Sigh* Then the coaching staff must be weak as they just rely on one man to do it all! Think about this. Recruitment should depend on needs. Evaluation must be based on one’s position. Watch him play — then evaluate.
You don’t send him home if he could not do more than 5 dribbles, if he’s no PG-SF! Nor should you get him if only for experience, for that could mean he’s worn out. Check him out first, his health, his interest, things like that before going to the necessary skills of his position in today’s game.
And so, for athleticism and scoring — whether inside or at the perimeter — we give it to Blatche. He’s stronger and could hit jumpers. As for rebounding, this goes to Austin who averaged 13 boards a game here. Defense? While Austin could block shots, he doesn’t really try to harass every shot within his reach but just relies on his height in wait. Blatche, meanwhile, uses his body. Still, both of them could be lazy at times, thus, this category is a tie.
Now tell me, who do you think is better?