Du’Vaughn Maxwell will be making another tour of duty when he reinforces Phoenix Super LPG in the Governors’ Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association.
Fuel Masters head coach Topex Robinson made the confirmation to Daily Tribune, saying that the 6-foot-7 Maxwell wants to return to help them make another run in the season-ending conference.
The 31-year-old Maxwell first played for the Fuel Masters as a last-minute replacement import in the final stretch of the Governors’ Cup last year.
He came in as Phoenix’s third import after Paul Harris and Dominic Sutton and posted 27.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.5 steals in four games.
“He really wants to come back,” Robinson said in a telephone interview.
“He told us after he finished the season that he will not accept any offer because he wants to return and play for us. He really loves the culture, his teammates and the environment.”
Robinson said more than skills, they are looking at the character when choosing an import.
“We’re not a team that is capable of bringing in two imports with one playing and the other on stand-by,” Robinson said.
“We’re not a big-budgeted team.”
Robinson cited their Commissioner’s Cup import – Kaleb Wesson – as example.
He said Wesson may not be blessed with great skill set, but he made up for it with great attitude and proved to be a good fit with the local players.
Maxwell is of similar cut.
Prior to his PBA stint, he played in the Ukraine Super League, averaging 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds for Cherkasy.
Robinson said they will hit the ground running with Maxwell on board as he is already familiar with the system and the culture of the team.
After all, they are looking at making a deep playoff run after falling short in the Commissioner’s Cup in which they finished seventh in the eliminations before getting the boot from No. 2 Magnolia in the quarterfinals.
Still, the Fuel Masters have nothing to be ashamed of as they bowed to the mighty Hotshots in the playoffs with five players in health and safety protocols, including stalwarts like RR Garcia, RJ Jazul, and Larry Muyang.
“Actually, there were 11 of them. We only have seven players preparing for the playoffs and we couldn’t even practice,” Robinson added.
“Eventually, the six players became better a day before our game. Despite our decimated line up, we were still able to compete.”