Alex Stepheson had himself a treat in his first game back in the PBA.
For his first-ever assignment for the Blackwater Elite in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup, Stepheson immediately went up against his former team Meralco Bolts, Sunday evening.
Stepheson played for the Orangemen back in the 2017 edition of the mid-season. Back then, he led Meralco to a 7-4 finish in the eliminations, but they fell short to the TNT KaTropa in the quarters.
But last season, Meralco did not call the former NBA cager back for another tour of duty. They instead went back to Arinze Onuaku, the Best Import awardee in 2016.
“I was excited to play Meralco from the very beginning,” he expressed.
The hulking 6-foot-10 slotman – who’s fresh from a stint with Yokohama B-Corsairs in the Japan B.League – admitted that he was slightly overeager in the game’s early goings.
“I think the first quarter, I was so excited. I was losing energy just from being over-hyped to play against them and rushing shots,” said the 31-year-old Stepheson.
“I was excited to play.”
But once he settled, Stepheson brought out the goods.
Stepheson went on to finish with 21 points and 31 rebounds with two assists in the 43 minutes. He helped Blackwater defeat Meralco in overtime, 94-91, for a successful conference debut.
He got one over his former team.
“Once I’ve calmed down, I’m ready to play.”
Meanwhile, Blackwater interim head coach Aris Dimaunahan only had good things to say regarding Stepheson. And it looks like the latter has found himself a home.
“Alex is definitely a great fit for us. As I’ve said before, we were looking for an import who would protect the paint for us, who could control the boards for us, and who could make plays for us also,” Dimaunahan said.
“I thought Alex did a great job today,” he gushed.
“Atsaka, ilang araw pa lang sa amin si Alex, and as time goes on, mas magiging komportable kami sa isa’t isa. He’s a very coachable guy, very easy to get along with na kind of an import.”