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NLEX signs Lebanon’s Rodrigue Akl
by rick olivares
Lebanon national team mainstay Rodrigue Akl will be joining the NLEX Road Warriors this upcoming PBA Governors’ Cup alongside American Henry ‘Bill’ Walker as their two imports.
The 27-year old and six-foot-one Akl is not only the point guard of Lebanese club team, Sagesse, but also its team captain. He was first seen by Filipino audiences when he joined an Al Riyadi team that played in the 2012 FIBA Asia Champions Cup that they won here in Manila. His current coach with Sagesse is Fouad Abou Chakra who was also his boss while at Al Riyadi. His surname in arabic means “the Mastermind” and Lebanese basketball fans have bestowed that English nickname on him.
According to NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez, he feels that he has enough weapons in the three, four, and five spots. “It was in the guard spot that I was looking for help,” said Fernandez who has Jonas Villanueva, Emman Monfort, and Kevin Alas. “Rodrigue not only has height but also has great pedigree. I also found out that he played for Tab Baldwin when he was the head coach of Lebanon. So you know that through the years, he’s had very good coaches and a good foundation."
Fernandez also revealed that he was looking at Iranian point guard Mahdi Kamrany but the cost of bringing him over was too expensive. “I was only able to confirm last Wednesday night (June 8) that we have his services for the Governors’ Cup. I think in Akl we not only a leader but an outstanding talent. He will help us a lot.”
Akl should arrive around June 15 in Manila.