The 2023 PBA Governors' Cup, the final conference for the league's 2022-23 season, begins on Jan. 22 and will feature imports that are shorter than 6-foot-6.
The reinforcements look to be a mix of old hands and newcomers.
Here's a breakdown of the 12 imports:
THE OLD HANDS
Four teams are bringing back their old imports, while another two have signed up imports who previously played for a rival squad.
Justin Brownlee (Barangay Ginebra)
The yardstick for Governors' Cup imports, Brownlee is looking to win his fifth title in this conference and 7th overall. Fresh off of a Commissioner's Cup championship/runner-up finish and third Best Import award, Brownlee will be playing in his tenth PBA conference and is closing in on Lew Massey for the fourth spot on the PBA imports' all-time scoring list. Based on his PBA career scoring average (almost 29 points per game), he should pass Massey in the middle of the elimination round.
Shawn Glover (Blackwater Bossing)
Glover played six games for Blackwater in the Season 46 Governors' Cup and averaged 34.8 points and 12.3 boards per outing -- twice scoring a single-game high of 49 points. Unfortunately, Blackwater went 1-5 during this stretch to finish in last place with a 1-11 record. With Glover joining a new-look Blackwater team, perhaps the results will be a little better this time. Prior to his first PBA stint, Glover suited up for KR Basket in Iceland.
K.J. McDaniels (Meralco Bolts)
McDaniels, who will be playing in his third Governors' Cup after previous stints with TNT and NLEX, came in as a mid-conference replacement for Johnny O'Bryant in the Commissioner's Cup and led the Meralco Bolts to a 3-3 record and out of the playoff picture. McDaniels averaged 27.3 points and 10.8 rebounds for the Bolts while playing against other imports who were four inches taller. He'll be more at home in the Governors' Cup, where he averaged 30.4 points and 11.5 boards for the Road Warriors last season, which he unfortunately was unable to finish due to the birth of his child.
Michael Qualls (Rain or Shine Elasto Painters)
Qualls played 11 games for the NorthPort Batang Pier as a replacement for Mychal Ammons in the 2019 Governors' Cup after the team sputtered to a 2-4 start. He averaged 32.1 points and 12.9 rebounds and led the 8th-seeded Batang Pier to a quarterfinal upset over the top-seeded Road Warriors. Rain or Shine fell in the semifinals to eventual champions Barangay Ginebra in four games. Before joining NorthPort, he had a stint with Al Riyadi Club Beirut in the Lebanese Basketball League. He arrived in early January and had his first practice with the Elasto Painters on January 6.
Du'Vaughn Maxwell (Phoenix Super LPG)
Phoenix is another team bringing back its previous import. Maxwell came in to replace Dominique Sutton late in the Season 46 Governors' Cup elimination round and led Phoenix past NorthPort in a playoff for the 8th seed. Their playoff stint lasted just one game, though, after they were blown out by the Magnolia Hotshots in the quarterfinals. In four games for the Fuel Masters, Maxwell averaged 27.5 points and shot 63% from the field. He most recently appeared in one game for Fully Loaded in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) and has also played in the Ukrainian league.
Cameron Clark (San Miguel Beermen)
Clark came in for the Road Warriors last season to replace McDaniels and played six games, averaging 24.8 points and 11.8 rebounds. He powered NLEX to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual champions Barangay Ginebra in four games. He saw action in Uruguay before SMB signed him up. The Beermen haven't won a Governors' Cup in eight years, so a lot will be riding on Clark's shoulders.
THE NEW FACES
Six teams will be bringing in newcomers, and the list includes a former NBA All-Star Weekend participant and the league's first player from New Zealand.
Jalen Hudson (TNT Tropang Giga)
After a disappointing Commissioner's Cup run, the TNT is banking on Jalen Hudson to lead them back to the playoffs. Hudson, 26, played 38 games for the Capital City Go-Go in the 2019-20 season of the NBA G-League and averaged 13.3 points per game. Most recently, he saw action for Hapoel Upper Galilee Safed in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, where he averaged 19.4 points in nine games, and in the Europe Cup, where he put up 17.0 ppg over six games. Hudson has also played in Germany and Greece.
Erik McCree (Magnolia Hotshots)
McCree played four games for the Utah Jazz in the 2017-18 NBA season, but failed to register a statistic aside from a single rebound. However, he did average 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 35 games in the G-League. He also has extensive experience on the European circuit, with his most impressive stint coming with Carpegna Prosciutto Basket Pesaro in the Italian Serie A where he averaged 18.4 points in 27 games in the 2018-19 season. McCree has also played in France, Denmark, Greece and Turkey.
Ethan Rusbatch (Converge FiberXers)
The FiberXers will make history in the Governors' Cup by fielding the first PBA import from New Zealand in Ethan Rusbatch, a name that should be familiar to Gilas Pilipinas fans. Rusbatch saw action for the Tall Blacks twice in matchups against Gilas, scoring 10 points in an 88-63 win in February 2022 and 12 points in a 106-60 demolition last June in the Asian Qualifiers. He also saw action in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where the Tall Blacks finished 19th, and averaged 3.6 points. He has played extensively in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL). Outside of a brief stint in the Australian NBL, this will be his first overseas assignment.
Jonathon Simmons (NLEX Road Warriors)
Simmons boasts of perhaps the most impressive credentials among the newcomers. A four-year NBA veteran, Simmons played for the San Antonio Spurs, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. His NBA career spans 258 games, during which he averaged 8.3ppg, with a single-season high of 13.9 for the Magic in the 2017-18 season -- during which he scored 22 points in a quarter of a Magic win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The previous season, he was named to the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend where he played for Team USA. After his NBA career ended, Simmons played for Liaoning and Shanxi in the Chinese Basketball Association. He has also seen action in the G League.
Marcus Weathers (NorthPort Batang Pier)
One of the early birds among the newcomers, Weathers has been in the country since November and watched a few games in the Commissioner's Cup. He was supposed to suit up for the Beermen but at the last minute transferred to the Batang Pier. He is fresh out of college, where he played five seasons for the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks, Duquesne Dukes, and Southern Methodist University Mustangs in an NCAA career that spanned 144 games. He averaged 12.1 points for his college career and was considered a sleeper in the 2022 NBA Draft. However, he went undrafted. This will be his first professional stint.
Jordan Williams (Terrafirma Dyip)
The Dyip signed up the 30-year-old Williams in early January and are hoping he can help them improve on their 1-11 record in the Commissioner's Cup. Williams played four years for the North Texas Mean Green and has been a regular fixture in the Mexican league over the past seven years. He also had a brief stint in Great Britain where he averaged 22.1 points for the Cheshire Phoenix. Most recently, he played two games for the Hamilton Honey Badgers in the Basketball Champions League-Americas, averaging 16.5 points per game.