Imports to watch in Asia League Terrific 12

From former NBA players to Asian superstars to ex-La Salle standout Ben Mbala, the Terrific 12 is a tournament chock-full of talent

Delfin Dioquino

11:44:52am September 12, 2018

12:11:26pm September 12, 2018

STAR-STUDDED. Former NBA players Marreese Speights and Al Jefferson and former UAAP MVP Ben Mbala (left to right) will star for their respective teams in the Asia League Terrific 12. Photos from Wikimedia (Speights and Jefferson) and Josh Albelda/Rappler (Mbala)

STAR-STUDDED. Former NBA players Marreese Speights and Al Jefferson and former UAAP MVP Ben Mbala (left to right) will star for their respective teams in the Asia League Terrific 12. Photos from Wikimedia (Speights and Jefferson) and Josh Albelda/Rappler (Mbala)

MANILA, Philippines – PBA D-League standouts will suit up for the IECO Green Warriors – the Philippines' only team – in the Asia League Terrific 12 but they won't be the only players to watch in the basketball club tournament set this September in Macau. 

Here are some of the players expected to turn heads in the Terrific 12:

Al Jefferson/Xinjiang Flying Tigers (China)

Jefferson is an NBA veteran, having played for the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets and the Indiana Pacers in his 14-year career. 

The 33-year-old is a former member of the All-NBA Third Team and averaged 15.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks during his time in the league. 

Marreese Speights/Guangzhou Long Lions (China)

The sweet-shooting Speights is best known for his time with the Golden State Warriors, with whom he won an NBA championship in 2015. 

Fondly called as "Mo Buckets," the big man is an all-around offensive threat who can score from anywhere. He averaged 7.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and a respectable 36% clip from 3-point range in his 10-year NBA career. 

Ben Mbala. File photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

Ben Mbala. File photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

Ben Mbala/Seoul Samsung Thunders (Korea)

The Cameroonian made waves in the UAAP by winning back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards and leading the La Salle Green Archers to a UAAP title in 2016 and a bridesmaid finish in 2017.

After exhausting his collegiate playing years, he has had tours in Mexico, France and now, Korea. 

Ricardo Ratliffe (20). Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Ricardo Ratliffe (20). Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

TJ Moon and Ricardo Ratliffe/Mobis Phoebus (Korea)

The two American-Koreans are no strangers to Filipino basketball fans, specifically with the agony they brought by helping Korea topple the Philippine team multiple times. 

Moon erupted for a blistering 38 points to lead Korea in virtually eliminating the Filipinos in their quarterfinals duel in 2014 Asian Games.

Meanwhile, Ratliffe dropped 30 points and 14 rebounds as the Koreans booted the Philippines out of medal contention in the 2018 Asiad with their quarterfinals triumph. 

Donatas Motiejunas/Shandong Golden Stars (China)

The Lithuanian played for five seasons in the NBA, experiencing his best years with the Houston Rockets. 

He averaged 7.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in the NBA and helped the Rockets reach the playoffs for two seasons. 

Jeff Ayres/Ryukyu Golden Kings (Japan)

The 6-foot-10 slotman won an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. 

He played for four teams in his 6-year NBA career and normed 2.9 points and 2.7 rebounds. 

Abudushalamu Abudurexiti (23). Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Abudushalamu Abudurexiti (23). Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Abudushalamu Abudurexiti/Xinjiang Flying Tigers (China)

Although not an import, Abudushalamu is worth noting on this list. 

He was a key cog in China's gold medal-winning run in the 2018 Asian Games and was a thorn in the side of the Filipinos after finishing with 12 points and 8 rebounds in a thrilling 82-80 Chinese win over the Philippines in the preliminary round.

The Terrific 12 kicks off on September 18 as the Green Warriors open their campaign against the Golden Kings. – Rappler.com