SIDELINED. Import Greg Smith watches from the Rain or Shine bench.
Import Greg Smith still cannot get clearance from his previous Dominican Republic ball club before tip-off, forcing Rain or Shine to field an all-Filipino roster
MANILA, Philippines – Rain or Shine had to deal with a surprise blow just before tip-off.
With import Greg Smith all set to play, even joining the team in the shootaround, the Elasto Painters got the grim news that the American was barred from playing against Terrafirma in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Thursday, February 16.
Smith, who last played for Dominican Republic ball club Leones de Santo Domingo in 2021, failed to obtain a Letter of Clearance (LoC) from the squad, prompting FIBA to notify the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas of the issue.
The import was able to play in their previous game as leeway in obtaining the LoC, which the team expected to have by tip-off.
“It was something that we’ve been trying to figure out for about a week. This old league that I’ve not played in since 2021, they just haven’t responded yet,” Smith told reporters after the game.
“The federation and the other team that I used to play for, they haven’t responded yet. And I still haven’t gotten total clearance,” he added.
“I was released back in 2021 and they just didn’t give me the paperwork. For whatever reason, they’re being slow with it. It should be something that should be resolved soon.”
Stepping up in the absence of their import were locals Andrei Caracut and Leonard ‘Santi’ Santillan, who combined for 46 points in the Elasto Painters’ 120-118 win against the Dyip.
The spitfire guard Caracut tallied a PBA career-high 23 points built on 6 triples, while Santillan fired 21 markers, including the game-winner with 0.7 seconds left.
“It was a test of character. The guys did not give up, they did not falter,” Rain or Shine mentor Yeng Guiao said in the post-game press conference.
“So, the talk in the dugout was just everybody make contributions, just step up and make an effort. We feel good about our locals. Especially for running our system, for picking up the effort on defense,” he continued.
Guiao praised Santillan for making up for a mistake that would have cost them the game.
The big man launched a wayward pass that hit teammate Beau Belga’s back, which was caught by the Dyip, leading to the game-tying basket by Jordan Williams with 52.2 left.
“I got surprised because my pass to Beau was not pretty. It just happened that I was open inside and Rey saw me. I made up for my mistake. If I didn’t, I would have been killed by coach Yeng,” Santillan quipped in Filipino.
More importantly, Rain or Shine got a much-needed second win before playing its next assignment on Wednesday, February 22, against Magnolia.
Guiao shared that Smith’s overseas-based agent friends are working doubly hard to reach the Dominican basketball federation to get the much-needed LoC. – Rappler.com