By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Zamboanga Valientes basketball squad just got a major boost for the upcoming 2023 ASEAN Basketball League Invitational circuit after acquiring the services of former NBA champion Mario Chalmers.
Team owner Junnie Navarro who confirmed the development last January 23, 2023, is already excited about seeing a two-time NBA champion play for the Philippine-based sports club.
Chalmers is an NBA champion after earning two titles with the Miami Heat together with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Ray Allen.
“Sobrang laki ang matutulong niya sa amin lalo na sa experience kasi na kasama din niya si Lebron. Maraming matututunan ang local players natin sa kanya,” said Navarro.
Chalmers was 2008 NBA Rookie Draft’s 34th overall pick and earned his stripes in the Miami franchise led by Filipino-American head coach Erik Spoelstra.
His arrival in Miami was also the start of their resurgence in the big boys’ league after tapping James from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Bosh from the Toronto Raptors.
Chalmers’ best year with the Heat was in 2014 when he averaged 10.2 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game in 29.6 minutes of playing time.
The savvy point guard spent his first seven years with Miami before getting shipped to the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2015 season.
After his stint in the NBA, Chalmers continued playing professional hoops when he secured offers from Virtus Bologna, AEK Athens, Aris Thessaloniki, and Indios De Mayaguez.
Zamboanga will be needing a chunk of Chalmers’ production after a disappointing start when they only finished with a 1-3 win-loss record in their first invitational league of the year.
Chalmers will be teaming up with former PBA import Antonio Hester, controversial NCAA swingman John Amores, and former PBA veterans Rudy Lingganay and JR Cawaling.