Ace import back for SMB
Done with the Drive for Five campaign following an incredible endgame victory, San Miguel Beer now sets its sight on a second straight crown with the same import who was unstoppable in leading the Beermen to the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup title.
Charles Rhodes, a 6-foot-8 American from Texas fresh from competing in the Korean League with the Incheon ET Land Elephants, vowed to reprise his dominating form when the Beermen also ruled the PBA’s second tournament after nailing a third straight Philippine Cup title two years ago.
The 33-year-old Rhodes, who was around when the Beermen captured a record fifth straight Philippine Cup crown with a come-from-behind 72-71 decision of the Magnolia Hotshots in their Game 7 showdown last Friday, said he rued his failure to defend the title he rewarded SMB.
“I wanted to come back last season but I had to be with my
daughter and wife. But now I’m here and I’m ready to defend my crown,” Rhodes said.
SMB fielded Troy Gillenwater for two games last year before Renaldo Balkman took over and powered the Beermen to the finals where they lost to Justin Brownlee and the Ginebra Gin Kings, 4 games to 2, in the best-of-seven title series.
It was also Ginebra that ruined SMB’s crack at the Grand Slam in 2017 which Rhodes helped set up with his exploits in the Commissioner’s Cup. The Gin Kings ended the Beermen’s title sweep bid in the quarterfinals and went on to win the Governors’ Cup at the expense of the Meralco Bolts.
Now Rhodes is determined to secure a follow-up championship for the Beermen, adding he is looking forward to his reunion with 6-foot-10 SMB stalwart June Mar Fajardo.
“We’ll try to dominate like we did last conference I played,” he said.
The Commissioner Cup got going Sunday, but as PH Cup finalists, San Miguel and Magnolia won’t be seeing action until June 5 against NorthPort and Alaska, respectively.
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