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    Austria confident 'versatile' McCullough capable of rescuing SMC campaign

    Jul 4, 2019
    PHOTO: Reuben Terrado

    SAN Miguel coach Leo Austria likes what he is seeing from new import Chris McCullough.

    With the Beermen struggling to a 2-5 (win-loss) start to the PBA Commissioner's Cup, the team made the crucial decision to bring in the Bronx-born import for Charles Rhodes, who brought the Beermen to this title back in 2017.

    “If you would take a look at our standings, 2-5. We need somebody who could change the complexion of the game,” said Austria. “We decided to look for someone. Nakita namin si Chris McCullough.”

    Austria said he is happy with the play of McCullough, who he said has also brought positivity to the team.

    “Based on our last three practices, although it’s not really hard practice, we are impressed. That is something na kailangan namin i-transform into winning or makita ‘yung kanyang ginagawa sa practice in the game. We are confident na he is really giving a lot of good things para sa team,” Austria said.

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    “Makikita mo naman very positive ‘yung mga players and even management,” he added.

    Despite the import switch, Austria isn't about to pin the blame for SMB's struggles on Rhodes who he said actually did well in the seven games he played.

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    “When we played the first two games, it’s obvious that the locals aren’t responding. Maybe because mentally and physically, fatigued eh. They are trying to recover pero ‘yung kalaban namin, lahat naka-four games, five games na. They are in top shape, kami catching up pa," he said.

    "With the new import, na-lift ‘yung morale ng team. Tumaas ang kumpiyansa,” Austria added.


      McCullough previously played in China and Puerto Rico after being drafted 29th by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2015 NBA draft.

      Austria said he likes McCullough’s versatility.

      “Ang opinion ko, he can play guard and big. ‘Yun ang nakikita ko sa kanya. Big man who can dribble,” said Austria.

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      McCullough said he is excited to play in the Philippines for the first time and buckle down to work and help the Beermen win games.

      “I’m very excited. I can’t wait to play and get on the court and start winning games," he said. “Just a lot of energy, coming in with a lot of young energy, get a lot of rebounds, be aggressive, and just come in here and start winning games.”

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      PHOTO: Reuben Terrado
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