When Richard Howell was hurt in the iECO Green Warriors’ match with Ryukyu Golden Kings in The Terrific 12 on Tuesday, the coaches – especially chief tactician Ariel Vanguaria – were pressed to find a replacement for the fallen player.
And Vanguardia immediately called someone familiar.
Tiras Wade, his import during his time with the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the ASEAN Basketball League years ago, was actually in China. He was in Guangzhou – just an hour and 30 minutes away from Macau.
Wade knew that it would be a gamble to join the Green Warriors, as he’s only going to play a single game, which was versus former Chinese Basketball Association champions Xinjiang Flying Tigers on Thursday night.
But having a soft spot for Filipinos since he played for the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters in the PBA back in 2009, he still went to Macau. For him, joining a Filipino ball club, no matter how hastily-formed, is a no-brainer.
“It was a no-brainer for me. I didn’t have anything else to do, and I love to get a chance to play again on a stage like this,” said Wade.
Wade suited up versus Xinjiang on Thursday. Vanguardia had told him hours prior to the match that the 6-foot-6 forward would be the Green Warriors’ ace against the Flying Tigers, who have plenty of height and athleticism.
Vanguardia was right. In the plus-35 minutes he graced the hardwood, the 36-year-old Wade produced 24 points on a decent 47 percent shooting from the field, along with 14 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and a block.
Unfortunately, Wade’s efforts went for naught. The Green Warriors led by as much as seven heading into the homestretch, but the Flying Tigers were just too tough to take down as they fought back and won, 107-103.
Wade hadn’t been given the send-off he deserves. But for him, it was all worth it.
“Definitely, it was fun,” said Wade, who has been roaming the globe to play professional basketball for about 13 years now.
“It was a fun time for me to play in a tournament and play with my old coach in the Philippines.”