AZ Reid played down the highly-anticipated matchup with his former team as San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine start their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series on Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
All the SMB import is focused on is trying to lead his new team to the Finals at the end of the best-of-five series beginning at 7 p.m.
“Nothing changes. They’re there just like any other team to me,” said Reid, who played for the Elasto Painters for three years, including a Finals stint in last year’s edition of the season-ending conference.
“I appreciate everything they’ve done. But the goal is try to win a semifinals.”
“I’m thankful to be in this situation,” the two-time Best Import added. “I’m thankful to them for allowing me to play for San Miguel this year because they didn’t have to.”
Reid fared well in his regular season meeting with the Painters, tallying 36 points, 11 boards, six assists, two steals, one block, and no turnover in 43 minutes as the Beermen rolled to a 104-91 victory, the first of an eight-game winning streak.
The former Best Import awardee also won against Rain or Shine as a stand-in import for SMB in a Commissioner's Cup game marred by a run-in and a verbal tussle with former coach Yeng Guiao. last March
But playoff basketball is different, he pointed out.
“What happened before doesn’t matter,” Reid said. “It’s a whole new ballgame.”
The Painters are also much-improved from the team the Beermen beat in the elimination round, having won their last seven games, including a thrilling 134-132 double-overtime victory over Barako Bull in the quarterfinals.
“They’re playing well, but we’re going to find ways to get it done,” said Reid, whose team survived a tough quarterfinal matchup with Meralco, which took twice-to-beat SMB to the limit before folding.
“I look forward to the matchup with my former teammates,” he added. “It’s going to be interesting and a good, long, hard-fought series.”
Guiao, on the other hand, is counting on his own reinforcement in Wendel Mckines, who after a rough start has come into his own for the Elasto Painters.
“Wendell has stepped up,” Guiao said. “He’s been very consistent with his energy whether he’s scoring or not, whether he’s playing badly or not, that energy is always there. His tenacity is always there and that carries us through the difficult times.”