CHARLES Rhodes has been playing pro ball overseas for almost a decade. Who would’ve thought it’s in the Philippines where he would reach a personal milestone?
The American journeyman made his first finals appearance in his career after leading San Miguel Beer in reaching the biggest stage in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup following a 3-1 semifinal series win over Star.
“It's overwhelming,” Rhodes, who’s had stints in Korea, Spain, and Turkey, said after their 109-102 win in the series-clinching Game Four on Friday night. “I just wanna thank God for blessing me to get that – this is my first Finals I've ever been in my whole career, so it really means a lot to me.”
“Words can't really describe it,” the Mississippi State product who turns 32 on June 25 added. “I will go home and celebrate – celebrate like I'm in high school, man! You know it's just... I got emotional, I almost cried on the court,
“(But Chris) Ross just told me 'we got more to do. We gonna get ready for it,'” he continued.
Rhodes credited his powerhouse local crew that provided more than enough support to give the Hotshots plenty of problems.
“The clutch and veteran players that we have, everybody on the court knew what we had to do,” Rhodes said. “All the players, man…they stepped up defensively and offensively. And we were rebounding the ball towards the end-game, so that helped us.”
Rhodes finished with 21 points, 10 boards, two steals, two blocks, and one assist in 34 minutes, his numbers paling in comparison to Hotshots counterpart Ricardo Ratliffe who put on another monster effort of 36 points, 17 boards, two assists, two blocks, and one steal, against only one turnover in almost 46 minutes of play.
But Rhodes still had the last laugh against his fellow Korean pro league import.
“It feels great, you know. I'm two and zero against him -- last time we played, we beat 'em 3-1, we beat 'em 3-1 again, so that's all I care about,” Rhodes said. “The thing with him? We gon face each other every year in Korea, and probably over here. I will play him until my career is over.”
Now, Rhodes is eager to even turn it up a notch in the finals – regardless if it’s against TNT KaTropa or Ginebra.
“It doesn’t matter,” Rhodes said. “This is my first Finals ever, so whoever our opponent is, Im'ma give my 130 percent. I'm coming.”