There’s no question that with the champion all-Filipino crew of the last three years, all San Miguel Beer needs is an import that can complement its local aces for the Beermen to matter in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
And whether or not Charles Rhodes is that man would eventually tell if the Beermen could go on and nail the second jewel of what could be a Grand Slam year for San Miguel.
Rhodes had a decent debut in San Miguel’s 99-92 victory over Meralco a few nights back, and with the 6-foot-8 banger promising to do better from hereon, this San Miguel crew can come closer to matching what is considered the best team the franchise had ever had: the 1989 team that completed a sweet sweep.
“I think I will be better in the next game,” Rhodes said, referring to their 7 p.m. clash with dangerous Phoenix Petroleum at Mall of Asia Arena, where San Miguel hopes to nail a second straight win and creep closer to the leaders.
Rhodes got into early foul trouble and finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 33 minutes against Alex Stepheson and the erstwhile unbeaten Bolts. But what Rhodes wants to improve on is his free-throw shooting.
“I don’t normally miss those many free throws,” he said after going 8-for-13. “I had kind of like a bad game (because of that).”
The Beermen are tipped as the solid favorites against the Fuel Masters, with reigning three-time VP June Mar Fajardo there to make a solid twin-tower frontline for San Miguel.
But this Phoenix team is no pushover, having come from a 94-91 nipping of Barangay Ginebra in Davao over the weekend where rookie Matthew Wright announced his return to peak form with 28 points built around six triples.
Import Jameel McKay will have his hands full underneath trying to contain Fajardo and Rhodes, and Phoenix’ big men will have to give him a lot of help for the Fuel Masters not to get mangled in the battle for the rebounds.
While Rhodes potentially has what it takes to be a perfect fit for San Miguel, fellow powerhouse TNT KaTropa tries to find out whether NBA veteran Donte Greene has more to give when the Texters slug it out with sister team NLEX in the 4:15 p.m. contest.
The former Memphis Grizzly didn’t show willingness to bang and play hard underneath when he made his much-anticipated debut last March 31, as the Texters needed to rely on their local to pound out a 92-89 victory over Blackwater.
TNT coach Nash Racela admitted Greene has been under the microscope after that game and they are now on the lookout for a potential replacement.
“He needs to do better,” Racela said after rookie RR Pogoy bailed TNT out with a mammoth fourth quarter.