LEO Austria said Michael Singletary has a big shoe to fill in when he takes over as new San Miguel Beer import from the injured AZ Reid.
But based on what he’s seen so far, the Beermen coach believes the one-time Barako Bull reinforcement is capable of exceeding expectations.
“Mas prolific scorer si AZ, who also provides us with a threat sa loob,” admitted Austria. “But si Singletary, he will do whatever you assign to him. He can play 1, 2, and the 3 spots. Puwede rin siyang magdala ng bola para sa amin.”
Since joining San Miguel and practicing with the team for the past five days, the 27-year-old Singletary has easily adapted to the Beermen’s system, which Austria hopes would be in full display when the defending champions play the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday in the main game of the PBA Governors Cup.
“We’ll see how he translates it pagdating sa laro. Pero so far, the past few days na nag-practice siya sa amin, nakuha niya na yung plays namin. Halos kabisado niya na lahat. Ang bilis niyang naka-adjust,” said the 2015 Coach of the Year.
The native of El Paso, Texas was tapped by the Beermen to take the place of the injured Reid for the meantime, as the former two-time Best Import tries to recover from an Achilles heel injury.
Singletary didn’t arrive in the country until Friday, sitting out San Miguel’s last game against Alaska, which the Beermen nonetheless won, 106-103, despite playing without an import.
Against the Bolts and the dominant Allen Durham, Austria said the team can no longer afford to play without an import.
“It’s a crucial game for us. Kung manalo kasi kami, we’ll tie Ginebra and Mahindra at second place (6-2),” he said. “Yung Meralco ganun din because they’re just behind us (5-3).”
Austria said the length of Singletary’s stint will depend on how he performs with the team.
“That’s why AZ is still here. Just in case na gumaling siya and Mike doesn’t perform well, at least may import pa rin kami,” he added.
The former PBA player said Reid again underwent rehabilitation on Tuesday for his injured heel. He still hasn't rejoined the Beermen in daily drills but is always present in practice, and on occasion, would try some practice shooting.
Austria said the team is also keen on tapping an Asian import given the number of hurting players in his roster right now.
He added the Beermen already had a player in mind, but would rather not divulge his name until he’s on his way to Manila.