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SWEETSHOOTING RODGERS FOR GINEBRA

Barangay Ginebra has enlisted as its import for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup former Northern Illinois stalwart Leon Rodgers, a player carefully chosen to strengthen the weakest spot in the Kings’ current roster.

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The Ginebra coaching staff and management opted not to sacrifice the playing minutes of big men Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter, choosing Rodgers who is reputed to be a cold-blooded streak-shooting wing player.

He’s to end his current engagement in the Chinese Basketball Association in a week and would just go home briefly to the US before flying to Manila to join the Ginebra camp.

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The 6-foot-6 Rodgers once drained 15 three-pointers in a game in the Chinese league, going 24-of-43 from the field as the Jilin Northeast Tigers drubbed the Shanxi Zhongyu, 124-100, on March 11, 2009.

Now a fixture in China basketball, Rodgers has scored no less than 20 points in each of his last 18 games in the current CBA tourney.

In those 18 games, he amassed 65 three-pointers or 3.611 three-point conversions per outing.

He was most prolific in their 136-120 whipping of Zhejiang last Jan. 22 when he poured in 40 points on 4-of-9 three-pointers, 12-of-13 twinners and 4-of-7 charities.

Before his current tour of duty in the CBA, Rodgers starred for the Guerreros in Colombia, nailing 8-of-12 three-pointers in one of his hot shooting nights and 7-of-10 in another.

He also banked on his great shooting prowess as he won three straight MVP honors in the Dutch league from 2005-2007.

At 33, he’s still a fearsome gunner, hitting 54 percent from the two-point range and 40 percent from the three-point land in the CBA.

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His presence at Ginebra would have him forming with Aguilar, Slaughter, Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio an explosive starting unit.

Last year, Vernon Macklin helped the Kings to a second-place finish in the second conference behind the Alaska Aces.

Best Import awardee Rob Dozier and the Aces swept Macklin and the Kings, 3-0, in the best-of-five finale. (SB)

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