Not every import ends up being a hero to a franchise like Justin Brownlee of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, or playing out of this world for an award to be named after him like the late Bobby Parks.
With a few PBA teams yet to finalize their chosen reinforcements for the upcoming 2017 Commissioner's Cup, executives may want to do some extensive background check when before deciding to bring someone in.
For every Billy Ray Bates and Norman Black, there is Daniel Orton and Renaldo Balkman. In light of the looming international-flavored conference, FHM recalls the worst episodes PBA imports have been involved with on and off the court in recent years.
The first entry didn't even happen on the court. Cornley's reputation as the Best Import that gave the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters its first championship (2012 Governors' Cup) went downhill after being apprehended twice in 2013 on separate counts of police assault and domestic violence. Both cases have reportedly been settled, but don't expect him to suit up for any PBA team again after being banned by the league.
The day James Yap's moniker 'The Man With A Million Moves' meant something else. During a match between Talk N' Text and Purefoods, the former's reinforcement threw the ball at opposing big man Jondan Salvador after excessive physical contact. What happened next was straight out of The Road Runner Show.
Yap sneaks up on Leather, kicks him from behind, and runs for his life as the fuming import chases after him. When asked about the sequence, he explained on Wasak, "Ang pagkakaalam ko kasi, pag closed fist, mahal (yung fine). Iniisip ko yun, hindi closed fist, kasi mahal. Tadyak na lang. Yun pala, same amount lang pala.”
In 2013, the former NBA player seemed to have forgotten which side he was on (Petron Blaze Boosters) against the Alaska Aces. Enraged by a missed call, Balkman had to be pacified by teammates after jostling a couple of officials. It was him against the world as he rebuffed Ronald Tubid and, out of nowhere, choked Arwind Santos.
After only seven games, Balkman was banned by the PBA and slapped with a hefty fine—P250,000—for his actions. He has since apologized to all parties for the mess, and even appeared on a TV interview with Santos. Still, the image of him grabbing his own comrade by the neck will be forever a haunting memory.
Orton's stint in the local league was like his time in the NBA: short-lived. After three games as the Purefoods Star Hotshots' reinforcement, he called the referees and Kia Carnival's playing coach Manny Pacquiao a "joke." He may have simply said what was going on inside our heads, but those comments didn't suit well with then-commissioner Chito Salud. Orton was sent packing shortly after.
The ex-Atlanta Hawk is the stuff of legend around these parts—not just for the right reasons. The incident in the video above actually happened during Johnson's first tour of duty with TNT, wherein he led the team to the 2015 Commissioner's Cup title.
His second conference was more infamous, getting suspended and fined following a scuffle at a tuneup game against the Blackwater Elite. An altercation with commissioner Chito Narvasa in a game versus the Meralco Bolts resulted in a lifetime ban—reduced to season-long—and P150,000 penalty.