ANTIPOLO CITY - For Reginald Johnson, the Asean Basketball League (ABL) is a thing of the past. The PBA is an entirely different animal.
The burly Rain or Shine import went through with his business in his first meeting in the league with San Miguel rookie Christian Standhardinger and helped the Elasto Painters pull off a stirring 123-119 overtime victory over the defending champions on Sunday night in the Commissioner's Cup.
Johnson was a force inside, dropping 27 and 19 rebounds while putting the body on the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger, the same man who torched him for 40 points while the two played in the ABL for the Mono Vampire of Thailand and Hong Kong Eastern Lions, respectively.
This time, the Fil-German had a modest 17-point, 15-rebound effort as Johnson and the Elasto Painters got the win in the tightly-fought, back-and-forth game.
Johnson said there was no conscious effort on his part to get back at Standhardinger.
"I don't look at redemption. This is a whole new league, a whole new season, a whole new team," he said.
"This is a statement game for us."
Johnson said he had fun going up against the tall frontcourt of San Miguel led by Standhardinger and June Mar Fajardo. He admitted that shortly upon arrival in the country, the first thing he did was to learn more about the 6-foot-10 Fajardo.
"I didn't know who June Mar was," he said. "But he was a good player and very competitve."
Johnson and the Elasto Painters though proved to be the toughter team in the end as they dealt the defending champions a second straight loss while earning their fourth win in five outings for the solo lead.
"They played hard and we played hard, so its good to get the win," he said.