Despite playing with boundless energy and producing decent numbers, import Michael Qualls was still let go after failing to lead Rain or Shine to a victory in the early stretch of the Governors’ Cup of the Philippine Basketball Association.
Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao told Daily Tribune that they are leaning towards sending Qualls home following their fourth straight loss — a 116-108 decision — to reigning champion Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guiao said they are looking at parading a new import when they face Blackwater on Sunday.
“I have no question about Qualls’ ability to play. He provides energy, plays with a lot of intensity and produce the points, but getting his teammates involved and making them effective are the issues that need to be addressed,” Guiao said in a telephone conversation.
Against the Gin Kings, Qualls ended up with 23 points, but only had five rebounds and two assists.
“If you look at Justin Brownlee’s numbers, he had a triple-double performance,” added Guiao, referring to the three-time Best Import’s production of 29 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
“I think the more important thing to look at is how our import can make everybody on the team look good. It’s more about making them more effective and getting them more involved.”
“Qualls produced the points, but his rebounding and his assists are low. Those are not enough to help us win games.”
Guiao said they are in the process of finalizing Qualls replacement.
“We have a list of imports. These are the imports we’ve considered before Qualls became available, so we made him a priority,” Guiao said.
Qualls first played in the league four years ago with NorthPort where his game proved to be a better fit.
In the 2019 Governors’ Cup, Qualls led the Batang Pier all the way to the semifinal round and defeated the team previously coached by Guiao, NLEX, twice in a row in the quarterfinal round to advance to the Final Four.
Caloy Garcia, Rain or Shine’s head of basketball operations, added that the guy they’re looking at as Qualls’ replacement is somebody who has yet to play in the PBA.
“We’re still talking to him and see if he’ll be able to come in right away,” Garcia said.
“We need to get response from him the soonest possible time as there are some paperworks that need to be done before he’ll be able to play.”