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SMB, Alaska name imports

San Miguel Beer and Alaska, the two teams playing in the Philippine Cup championship series, have found their respective reinforcements for the next Commissioner’s Cup.

The Beermen will have Arinze Onuaku while the Aces will parade D.J. Covington when the league’s second conference of the season starts Jan. 27 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

SMB leads Alaska in the all-Filipino best-of-seven finals series, 3-2. The Beermen aim to finish the Aces in Game 6 scheduled Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The 6-foot-7 Onuaka, the 27-year-old former stalwart of Syracuse University, is fresh from his stint with the Canton Charge, the only team he played for in the NBA D-League.

As a senior at Syracuse Orange, Onuaku averaged careerbest of 10.5 points in 32 games, while adding 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots.

Though he went undrafted during the 2010 NBA Rookie Draft, Onuaka was able to play as a free agent a combined of five games – three with the New Orleans Hornets and two with Cleveland Cavaliers – in the NBA last season as he averaged just 1.6 points.

Alaska, on the other hand, will have the 6-foot-9 Covington, who is a product of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) who recently played professional basketball with the Basic Fit-Brussels in Belgium.

In his fourth and final season with the VMI Keydets last year, Covington averaged 20.1 points per game, which was good for 24th in the country with 9.3 rebounds per game. He holds the VMI record for blocked shots with 272.

The two teams were the latest to sign imports for the Commissioner’s Cup, where teams that finished first to eighth spots after the elimination of the Philippine Cup can sign imports not taller than 6-foot-9, while the ninth to 12th teams can play with imports of unlimited height.

Expansion teams Kia and Blackwater will have the two tallest players in 7-foot-4 Peter John Ramos and 7-foor-3 Chris Charles, while Barako Bull will have 7-foot-1 Solomon Alabi. NLEX opted to have 6-foot-7 NBA veteran Al Thornton.

Globalport will have as import CJ Leslie, while Talk ’N Text will bring back for the second straight conference Richard Howell, who led the team to the finals during last season’s Commissioner’s Cup.

Defending champion Purefoods Star, popular team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Rain or Shine and Meralco have yet to find their imports.