By WAYLON GALVEZ
Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. – Alaska vs Meralco
8 p.m. – San Mig Super Coffee vs Globalport
Manila, Philippines – Despite giving San Miguel Beer a 2-0 start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Josh Boone, a legitimate campaigner in the NBA, was given his release papers after the coaching staff and management opted to replace him with Kevin Jones.
The decision was made yesterday when coach Biboy Ravanes, team manager Gee Abanilla and consultant Todd Purves informed Boone, a former New Jersey Net, of the team’s decision to let him go after just two games with SMB (formerly Petron Blaze).
In San Miguel Beer’s 94-76 victory against Meralco, the 6-foot-7 Boone tallied 16 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and a shot block in 32 minutes of action.
The 29-year-old Boone was even more impressive opposite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Sunday, exploding for 32 points while adding 21 boards with three assists and two shot blocks in 39 minutes in a 112-96 triumph that gave SMB a 2-0 card.
However, even that didn’t stop San Miguel Beer to replace Boone.
“We would like to thank Josh for his effort and professionalism. He showed a lot of heart while wearing the Beermen uniform,” said Ravanes in a statement sent via text message. “We look forward to enjoying Josh’s success as he will always be a member of the Beermen family.”
Boone’s PBA stint was actually his first competition after being sidelined during the 2013 season of the NBA D-League due to a knee injury. Because of that, many felt – including that SMB coaching staff – that Boone will likely struggle as the conference progresses.
That is the reason why San Miguel Beer signed the 6-foot-7 Jones, who arrived Saturday morning.
“Boone helped us get the two wins, but I think it’s the right decision of the coaching staff (to replace). The important thing for Boone is that he got his confidence back and he will come out of the Philippines on top. He’ll go back to New York, and I’m sure he has a lot of options as far as his basketball career is concerned,” said Abanilla.
“As for Kevin Jones, as I’ve said, I think it’s the right decision of the coaching staff. However, we really can’t tell what the future holds if this will work on our favor, or not. But of course, we are very positive that it will be a good result for us,” added Abanilla.
Jones, 24, will come in fresh from his stint in the NBA D-League with the Canton Charge. The onetime West Virginia stalwart, who played for the Future All-Stars of the NBA D-League All-Stars recently, will play in SMB’s next against Talk ’N Text on Friday.
Aside from San Miguel Beer, TNT is also off to a good start as the Tropang Texters won their first two matches, beating the Air21 Express (95-91) and the defending champion Alaska Aces (85-72) last week with import Richard Howell averaging 22 points and 21 rebounds per game.
Also impressive so far in two games is Barako Bull’s Joshua Dollard, who had 45 points in a 108-104 overtime loss to Ginebra, and then collected 44 points as the Energy Cola rebounded with a 110-106 win against Rain or Shine last Sunday.
Ginebra’s reinforcement Leon Rodgers, on the other hand, has averaged 32 points in two games.