Chris Newsome – Meralco’s ace gunner and playmaker – is set to return to action in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup starting 22 January.
Bolts head coach confirmed to Daily Tribune that the Filipino-American guard had already regained his health after suffering a calf injury in their first game of the Commissioner’s Cup against NorthPort.
Newsome missed the rest of Meralco’s games in the mid-season tournament, prompting it to miss the playoffs for the first time in four years.
The injury likewise deprived Newsome an opportunity to play again for Gilas Pilipinas and he was excluded in the roster of the fifth window where our national squad won over Jordan and Saudi Arabia a few months ago.
“We’re a much healthier team now. Chris Newsome is back and his legs are okay now,” Black said.
“We expect him to come back, and his help to us is such a great deal.”
In this season’s Philippine Cup where the Bolts made another deep run to the playoffs, Newsome averaged 16.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game.
Without Newsome and several key players like Cliff Hodge and Chris Banchero at some stretches in the Commissioner’s Cup, the Bolts got eliminated early.
“He’s been our leading scorer and assist guy in the PBA,” Black added.
“He’s also a very good defender. Him coming back would certainly give the team a big lift.”
But Black has every reason to feel upbeat of their chances in the season-ending tournament as aside from Newsome, returning import K.J. McDanis is out to resume unfinished business.
McDaniels missed the playoffs for the first time after three tournaments playing in the PBA but is out to atone for his shortcomings in the coming Governors’ Cup.
He replaced the ineffective National Basketball Association veteran Johnny O’ Bryant after six games and averaged 37.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals even though he’s one of the smallest imports in the tournament.
“He’s in much better shape now. He has lost about 10 pounds,” Black said.
“I expect him to be more productive this time for us.”