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Ginebra import is a scoring machine

Games Tomorrow (Mall of Asia Arena)

5:45 p.m. – Air21 vs Globalport

8 p.m. – Alaska vs Talk ’N Text

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel may have found a gem of an import in Leon Rodgers whose torrid shooting in two exhibition games convinced the Kings that the North Illinois stalwart, who once shot 15 triples, is the right guy for them.

Rogers is expected to be the key to Ginebra’s bid to bounce back from a semifinal loss in the recent Philippine Cup as the team gears up for a title run in the Commissioner’s Cup which starts tomorrow at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Barangay Ginebra, shown in file photo against San Mig during the Philippine Cup semifinals, will have a prolific scorer in import Leon Rodgers in the coming Commissioner’s Cup. (Tony Pionilla)

Barangay Ginebra, shown in file photo against San Mig during the Philippine Cup semifinals, will have a prolific scorer in import Leon Rodgers in the coming Commissioner’s Cup. (Tony Pionilla)

Ginebra point guard LA Tenorio said he liked what he saw in Rogers during two pre-season games where the import scored 38 points against San Mig Super Coffee and 28 points versus Air21. On both occasions, Ginebra won.

“He is a shooter. Although he’s the type of an import na hindi magpipilit kumuha ng points,” said Tenorio.

“He can create also for the team and most especially he is a vetetan leader na kailangan din ng team namin,” added Tenorio.

The 33-year-old lists among his career highlights a 66-point production in China where he played in 2009 that included 15 triples.

Barangay Ginebra, which played sans 6-foot-9 forward Japeth Aguilar (plantar fascists) and 7-foot rookie center Greg Slaughter (food poison), got 23 points from veteran center JayR Reyes while sophomore forward Chris Ellis added 18 points and Tenorio had nine points in the team’s 116-103 win over San Mig yesterday.

Without top gunners James Yap, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon and Joe Devance, who were given an extra day of rest, San Mig dropped its third straight tune-up match.

San Mig import James Mayes was not so impressive, managing only 23 markers.

Ginebra will start its Commissioner’s Cup campaign on Friday when it battles Barako Bull at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, while San Mig plays Globalport on March 12 also at the Big Dome.

Meanwhile, Rain or Shine resumed its practice session yesterday for the second conference at the North East Greenhills Gym in San Juan with coach Yeng Guiao hoping to have another successful playoff run with import Alex McLean.

The Painters made it to the Finals of the previous tournament but were beaten by San Mig, 4-2.

“He’s an inside/outside player, a big men with an outside range, so he fits into the system,” said Guiao of the 6-foot-7 McLean, whom he likens to the smaller version of Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies.

“He’s a legit four (power forward) who can play the post, and can play the outside. It’s good that he was here early, he saw how we work and he’s learned our system. The only downside is we didn’t have any scrimmage against other teams, but I’m confident we’ll do well,” added Guiao.

The Elasto Painters start their title drive against the Barako Bull on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The opening pits Globalport going up against Air21 at 5:45 p.m. while Alaska opens its title-retention bid at 8 p.m. opposite Talk ’N Text.