Import-laden PBA conferences are always make or break for reinforcements.
Blend well with the team from the get-go and you may be part of a great championship run; suck and you’ll be out sooner rather than later.
Rain or Shine struggled early in the conference with returning import Wayne Chism suffering a hamstring injury in just his second game for the Elasto Painters. The management replaced Chism with Antoine Wright, who despite showing progress, was also given the pink slip after three games.
Rain or Shine brought in Mo Charlo, a former Reno Bighorn, in its match against San Miguel Friday night. Charlo took the Elasto Painters’ very first shot and it clanked out. It took him a few more minutes before finally hitting his stride, and the Elasto Painters were just fortunate enough to eke out a 108-105 win.
“It is a big win. I have been here for only a couple of days. My first game in the PBA ever was against a great team (and) a great import. I just came out here and tried to have a great showing, and show my team, my coaches what I can do,” Charlo said. “My legs are still heavy but by next week I should be okay.”
The 32-year-old forward finished with a game-high 35 points including 24 in the second half, 13 rebounds, and four assists. He shot 6-for-8 from three-point area.
Rain or Shine head coach Yeng Guiao had positive remarks for their new import, and hopes it would be the start of better second half of the elimination round for the team.
“We got the import we needed. He is not as big as the other imports but he is a great defender. He extends the range because he can hit the three-point shot and he is active, he can run with the team. Hopefully we can sustain the momentum,” Guiao shared.
“I think Mo can get better. This is his first game, he’s practiced three times with us, he is in game shape, and he is just learning with the guys. I think things will look better for us from here on.”
Since Charlo is just 6-foot-4 15/16, a shade below the Governors’ Cup’s 6-foot-5 limit for reinforcements, Guiao is in fact already considering Charlo for the third conference.
Moreover, it is Charlo’s goal to have a relevant PBA career.
“This is my first year in the PBA so I hope I make a great impression. I don’t want to leave. It’s a great country, the fans here are great, I love it here so far, so hopefully I can earn my career here and play here for many years to come,” he said.
Charlo arrived Tuesday and spent a few practices with the Elasto Painters. He even watched his friend, current Phoenix Fuel Masters import Kevinn Pinkney, play to get used to the style of play and officiating. Charlo and Pinkney played together briefly in college for Nevada. Charlo also took tips from former Tropang TNT import Ivan Johnson.
“My friend Ivan Johnson, he played here last year so I talk to him a lot, I tell him I want to come out here and play in the PBA. Now that I am here, he kind of told me the rules. I also watched Kevinn Pinkney’s game so I know the rules and took it from there. I need to adjust,” Charlo shared.
So far, the Rain or Shine import is liking his stay, and he hopes to have a memorable one.
“We play together. Everybody trusts everybody. And at the start, they believe in me so they have given me confidence to just play my game, shoot when I have the open shot. Everybody (here) just has confidence. Everybody shares the ball,” he said.
He just hopes to make it.