2014 PBA Commish Cup Import Lowdown: Josh Dollard & James Mays

Now that the 2014 Philippine Cup has been handed to the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers, the attention of all ten (soon to be twelve?) teams is going to be diverted to the season’s second conference — the Commissioner’s Cup. The unique feature of this conference, of course, is that teams are allowed to employ “big” imports. This is in contrast to the third conference, or the Governors’ Cup, where teams are allowed only the services of “small” imports. 

In this particular conference, unlike in the Commissioner’s Cups of 2012 and 2013, there will be a height limit imposed on the teams’ imports, and this limit is based on how well each team fared in the previous conference. Because they finished in the bottom two spots of the team standings, the Air 21 Express and the Meralco Bolts have the luxury to choose imports who can be as tall as 6’11 (around 210cm), while the rest of the field can employ imports who are, at most, 6’9 (around 205cm).

I’m here to look at the ten imports who will show their wares in the 2014 Commish Cup. Traditionally, PBA teams rely heavily on their imports for practically everything, from scoring, to rebounding, to defending, and, in some cases, even playmaking. The expectations are extremely high (which explains their skyrocketing salaries), and the pressure can really take its toll.

In this third part of this series, we will look at the imports of both Barako Bull and San Mig Super Coffee. These are, respectively, former Auburn Tiger Joshua Dollard and Central Africa NT player James Mays.

Josh Dollard (L) playing for the Halifax Rainmen in Canada, and
James Mays (R) playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the D-league.
(composite image by Enzo Flojo/HoopNut)

Barako Bull Energy Cola import: Joshua Deshaun Dollard
Home country: USA 
Born: Sept. 2, 1986 in South Carolina, USA (27 y.o.)
Listed height: 6’8 (203cm)
US College: University of Auburn and University of South Carolina-Aiken
NBA Draft: 2009 — Undrafted
Has played in: Switzerland, Canada, Dominican Republic, Czech Republic, Turkey, Greece, Colombia, Finland, and Greece
Last played for: Korihait in the Korisliga (Finland)
Latest Averages: 20.7ppg, 8.0rpg, 1.2spg, 1.1 triples per game, .392 3pt%, 20.6 EFF

He possesses a wingman’s skill-set for a relatively big man by local standards. Dollard can be a deadly stretch 4 in the PBA as he has a nice touch from deep and he also rebounds quite well. 

It’s quite uncanny that Dollard has seen action in so many countries given how he’s just 27. That could be a testament to his being a high demand player, or it could also mean he’s a headcase who bounces around often because he can’t quite fit in. Given his history at the University of Auburn, where he was dismissed for violating the university’s athletic policy, though, it might be more of the latter.

Still, that doesn’t mean this guy can’t hoop. On the contrary, he has the size to enable better match-ups for Barako Bull, which doesn’t really have any dominant big man to speak of. Sure, Mick Pennisi and Dorian Peña are good in spurts, but those spurts are too few and far between and, well, Peña is 35 and Pennisi will turn 39 within the month. 

In short, Dollard will have a ton of pressure on his shoulders. Good luck.

Dollard had a solid stint for Finnish basketball club UU Korihait.
(image by Esa Urhonen/Kuva)

San Mig Super Coffee import: James Dixon Mays
Home country: US-born, but plays for the Central African Republic
Born: Mar. 3, 1986 in North Carolina, USA (28 y.o.)
Listed height: 6’9 (206cm)
US College: Clemson University
NBA Draft: 2008 - Undrafted
Has played in: China, Puerto Rico, Turkey, Dominican Republic
Last played for: Sioux Falls Skyforce (NBA D-League)
Latest Averages: 14.4ppg, 9.2rpg, 11.9 EFF

I’m not so sold on James Mays. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’ll do a much more solid job at the slot than both Rafi Reavis and Yance De Ocampo, but, measured against the other imports, he certainly doesn’t have the most glowing credentials. 

Mays isn’t really known as an exceptionally gifted scorer. Yes, he’s certainly worth more than the requisite garbage points Tim Cone gets out of his local centers, but, still, he’s not exactly go-to-guy material. He also doesn’t seem to be comfortable with a lot physicality, as what is mildly suggested when he commented on the physical play during the Philippine Cup Finals. One has got to love his ego, however, especially after he boldly declared the Mixers will be in the Playoffs of the Commish Cup. 

Having said that, though, Mays has the talent to surprise skeptics like me. If he can prove to be healthy and consistent, then he wouldn’t need to be a regular 25-10 guy, which is the expectation for most PBA imports. He has Marc Pingris backing him up down low, and a myriad of speedy and streaky wingmen who can spread the floor. If anything the local lineup of SMC should make things a little easier for Mays to get his points in the key. 

Mays (#44) had a really short stint with the Brooklyn Nets before the 2012-2013 NBA season.
(image from ESPN991)

In the next post, we will discuss two new imports — Rain or Shine’s Alexander McLean and Talk N Text’s Richard Howell.

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Kevin Jones of the Canton Charge is headed to Philippines side San Miguel to replace ex-NBAer Josh Boone.

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Yes! Will talk about that update in part 5!