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Zamboanga gets NBA champ as import in ABL campaign

January 24, 2023 - Tuesday 3:01 PM by Romeo Braceros Jr

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To strengthen its team for the 2023 ASEAN Basketball League Invitational, Zamboanga Valientes pulled off a recruiting coup by signing a two-time National Basketball Association winner.

Owner of the Valientes team, Junnie Navarro, announced the signing of Mario Chalmers as an import, claiming that his abilities, knowledge, and leadership will significantly help the team's campaign in the coveted regional league.

Chalmers, 36, is unquestionably a coveted catch.

The Minnesota Timberwolves selected the former Kansas shooter with the 34th overall pick in 2008. 

From 2008 to 2018, he was a rotation player for the Miami Heat and the Memphis Grizzlies.

He won two championships for the Heat led by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh and coached by Filipino-American Erik Spoelstra.

During his 10 years in the NBA, he averaged 8.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.

Before returning to the United States to play for the Grand Rapid Golds and the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA G League last year, Chalmers played in Greece and Puerto Rico after his time in the NBA.

Chalmers will join a strong Valientes team that includes James Kwekuteye, John Amores, Ryan Smith, and former import Antonio Hester from the Philippine Basketball Association.

According to Navarro, employing a player of Chalmers' caliber sends a powerful message that the Valientes can also uphold the nation's honor, much like Olympians Hidilyn Diaz and Eumir Marcial and Magnolia Hotshots playmaker Mark Barroca.

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