Most PBA will be like “Who the hell is Chris Charles?” and I will sit there snickering in the background.
And I quote from a blog post from July 16, 2014: “If you asked me a couple of months prior who Chris Charles was, I would have been stuck at guessing which channel he was a sports reporter for. That is the thing, I knew nothing about Chris Charles then. Now, armed with the unlimited power of the internet, I have become more knowledgeable.”
Most of the introduction about Chris Charles is there, like how he’s best friends with NBA guard Randy Foye, his awesome twitter handle (@ChrisConsin), or this awesome Youtube clip of Charles going around Bangkok.
AND THIS GIF.
No need to go through that all again. That was when I barely knew Chris Charles.
Chris Charles played for Hi-Tech Bangkok CIty in the ABL last year. I spent much of my free time watching ABL games both courtside and through videos, so I’ve been acquainted to Chris Charles’ play.
Charles was one of the first imports picked up for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, shortly after Blackwater Elite was out of the elimination rounds. As the imports roster of other teams started filling up, I started to notice one thing: Chris Charles is going to be the Oldest import for this commissioner’s cup.
Charles is at a ripe age of 33, having played his last college basketball season in 2006. He clashed with speculated San Miguel Beermen Import, Arinze Onuaku, when he was a senior at Villanova. Onuaku was only a freshmen. Only two other imports are slightly with in his age range are Peter John Ramos and Al Thornton.
Just updated: Arinze Onuaku will no longer be the Beermen import, instead replaced by Ronald Roberts.
Another thing is the fanfare that each of the other players made when they were merely speculated to be playing for a team. Chris Charles barely made a noise in the news when he signed for Blackwater Elite. Other guys were all “This dude looks like Kawhii Leonard. This dude played in the PBA once. This dude was an All-Rookie Team in the NBA. ETC”. Chris Charles doesn’t have the accolades that the other imports have.
But damn, Chris Charles is good.
I might be biased a bit, but you would be too if you had watched this guy dominate the ABL for a whole season. Sure, the ABL is nothing like the PBA. But this is a guy who dominated the game by letting his offense come to him. He rarely forced shots and doesn’t turn the ball over at a freakish rate (11.3 TOV% from 28.1% Usage rate is not bad). What has made this guy so special in the ABL is that he is a really good defender. Chris Charles had a block rate of 8.3% and his opponent field goal percentage of 36.63% was the best of player who averaged 20 minutes or more and played for more than half of the ABL season. He won the Defensive Player of the Year two years ago and was very close to winning a second, but instead he got back to back Import MVP instead.
Before you go out and start yelling “That was the ABL! Patrick Cabahug scored almost 20 points per game and HE couldn’t make the PBA! That’s a weak league!”, stop.
The ABL and PBA are two different leagues for sure, and the talent level is still a bit significantly different, but defense is not something you can just coast by on. Charles knows where to be and how to move on defense and that will help a Blackwater Elite team that is desperate for size.
So yeah, Charles might not have the accolades of the other imports and might not have youth on his side, but he’s a proven champion and winner who is seasoned and poised.
Don’t expect Charles do be a “BANG” type of import, but he’ll do his job day in and day out.
Before we part you, here is a picture of Chris Charles, all 7 feet of him submerged underwater because Chris Charles doesn’t play with dogs.
Check out the previews for the other imports here:
Josh Davis, Meralco Bolts
Michael Dunigan, Ginebra San Miguel
Peter John Ramos, KIA Sorento/Carnival
CJ Leslie, Global Port Batang Pier
Richard Howell, Talk’N Text Tropang Texters
Solomon Alabi, Barako Bull Energy Cola