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PBA: Rhodes just right for SMB – Austria

There will be no need for San Miguel’s Charles Rhodes to put up glowing numbers for him to keep his job as the Beermen’s import in the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The 31-year-old Rhodes tallied unimport-like numbers of 22 points and 12 rebounds during his league debut but head coach Leo Austria is not concerned about his American reinforcement’s offensive output.

Austria said they tapped Rhodes specifically to be the main man on defense, noting that offense is the least of their team’s concerns.

This was evident when the Beermen came from behind to defeat Meralco, 99-92, giving the Bolts its first loss in five games last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“He did not score heavily but that’s what I want from our import. As long as he takes care of the shaded area, he can be a big help,” said Austria. “Defensively hindi pa lumalabas laro niya pero in the next few games I expect him to get better.”

If Austria is to be believed, then Rhodes just showed a glimpse of what he can do when he forced Meralco’s hulking import Alexander Stepheson to go scoreless in the payoff period after tallying 21 markers by the end of third quarter.

“That’s my thing. Ever since I was in high school, I love defense. I pride myself in defense,” said Rhodes.

Austria rotated just nine players against Meralco, two of them getting limited minutes, a testament to the Beermen’s vaunted offense.

San Miguel will next face the unpredictable Phoenix Fuelmasters this Friday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.