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Meralco taps Allen Durham as Gov Cup import
by rick olivares
The Meralco Bolts are tapping the services of Allen Durham for the upcoming PBA Governors’ Cup. Durham is currently playing for Nantes in the Ligue Nationale de Basket (LNB), the second division of men’s professional basketball in France where he is averaging 17.9 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in his third season with the team.
The 6’5” Durham previously suited up for the Barako Bull Energy Boosters also in the Governors’ Cup during the 2013-14 season where in four matches, he averaged 25.0 points, 23.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. In one of those matches, Durham led Barako Bull to an 88-74 upset of Talk ’N Text with 28 points, 29 rebounds, and two blocks.
“He really impressed us that season,” said Meralco team manager Paolo Trillo who along with the Bolts’ head coach Norman Black were still with Talk ’N Text that year. “Every game he played in the PBA, we were very impressed. We also saw him recently in the NBA D-League showcase and we knew right away that he was the right import for our team."
Trillo said that they waited for Barako’s rights to Durham to elapse before making contact with his agent.
“We did our homework and asked around,” shared Trillo. “The teams and coaches in France all gave Allen a thumbs up.”
Durham is a 27-year old from Wyoming, Michigan who played for Grace Bible College and turned them into a National Christian College Athletic Association Division II power where they won two national titles. Before Durham’s senior season, he attracted attention from a Big 12 Conference team but he opted to stay with Grace Bible Christian.
In France, he has been regarded as the best player in the country the past two seasons and has attracted some interest from NBA squads. He also recently suited up for the Texas Legends in the D-League.
“If you noticed, our glaring need is at the center position,” accentuated Trillo. “We had a lot of injuries in that spot last conference with Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Kelly Nabong, and Justin Chua all hurt. Arinze Onuaku was perfect for us and he filled a void. With Allen it is going to be the same as Rabeh, Kelly, and Justin all slated for a return. We’ve been tracking him for a while and we like the fact that he can guard players much taller than him. For the Bolts, that’s a huge plus.”
The Meralco Bolts return to training on June 6th.