With Rain or Shine struggling to find an import, it won’t be a surprise if it taps Jordan star Dar Tucker as reinforcement for the final stretch of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao floated the possibility, saying that the 6-foot-4 Tucker could be their fourth import as they chase a playoff berth in the season-ending conference.
Guiao said hiring Tucker is much easier as he used to be a teammate of Jordan Tolbert, who was supposed to be their import but was barred from playing after exceeding the 6-foot-6 height limit.
“It’s a possibility considering that we now have a link with Dar Tucker in Jordan Tolbert. They’re very close and became teammates,” Guiao said, adding that they are ready to go all-Filipino when they face NorthPort on Saturday should the Tucker deal will not progress.
If ever, Tucker will only play one game – against powerhouse San Miguel Beer – but it could be extended depending on the outcome of the Painters’ last two matches.
Right now, they are at the 11th spot in the team standings with a 2-7 win-loss card, just a heartbeat away from Terrafirma and NorthPort, who sport 2-6.
Should they win over San Miguel and NorthPort, they can climb to 4-7 and will have a chance to catch the last bus to the quarterfinals.
Rain or Shine has been luckless in finding an efficient reinforcement.
First, the Elasto Painters hired Michael Qualls but was sent home due to “lack of chemistry” before tapping Greg Smith, who suffered a pulled hamstring injury.
They brought in Tolbert but misfortune struck as he the league’s Office of the Commissioner measured above the prescribed 6-foot-6 limit.
Now, the Elasto Painters are keeping their fingers crossed, praying for the arrival of an import who can turn their fortunes around.
In an earlier interview with Daily Tribune, Tucker expressed willingness to play in the PBA.
“I love it. Ever since we got here, the people of the Philippines, they’re showing so much love,” the 34-year-old Tucker said.
“I love to please the fans because you never know who’s out there, somebody who has never seen me before. I want to make a great impression and whenever I leave, they will remember me.”
Tucker became endeared to Filipino fans when he powered Jordan to a thrilling 91-90 victory over Gilas Pilipinas in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
He fired 22 points, 12 rebounds and two assists to banner the Jordanians to a victory that denied the Filipinos a strong finish in the prestigious event that serves as a gateway to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup from 25 August to 10 September.
The DePaul standout, Tucker, wrapped up his campaign in the qualifiers with averages of 19.6 points, seven rebounds and 3.6 assists, including a 31-point explosion in their 92-75 victory over New Zealand last November.
He has been with the Jordan national men’s basketball team since 2016 after campaigning in the National Basketball Association D-League, France and Venezuela.