Reigning Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer hopes to sustain its winning ways in the upcoming Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup, which kicks off on March 17.
Four-time PBA champion coach Leo Austria gave his triumphant Beermen a week off and will resume practice next Tuesday after winning their third straight Philippine Cup title last Sunday against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in five games of their best-of-seven championship series.
“We are hoping to start the next conference on a high note and we’re hoping to sustain our impressive performance [last conference]in the second conference. We cannot afford to lose one or two games because it’s only a short tournament,” Austria told The Manila Times.
Austria added that San Miguel Beer’s upcoming import, 6’8 Charles Rhodes, will arrive on Wednesday and will be introduced to his teammates.
“But we’re not going to hold any practices until next Tuesday because most players are still tired,” Austria said.
He also pointed out that San Miguel Beer’s campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup would also depend on the performance of the 31-year-old former Mississippi State forward who is coming off a stint with the Ulsan Mobis Phoebus in the Korean Basketball League.
“We are hoping he’s a kind of import who knows how to adjust with his teammates and in the situation. There are imports who wanted to go on their own and we do not like an import like that. I’m hoping we got the right import,” he said. “I believe Rhodes is a team player.”
In last year’s Commissioner’s Cup, Austria had a spat with import Tyler Wilkerson during a semifinals game against defending champion Rain or Shine. He was replaced by Arizona Reid in Game 4, and SMB eventually lost the series to the Elasto Painters.
Rhodes, who played for the Dallas Mavericks in the 2008-2009 National Basketball Association Summer League season, averaged 23.8 points and 11.2 rebounds in the KBL.