BEFORE the PBA Commissioner’s Cup began, Charles Rhodes wasn’t even sure if he was going to suit up for San Miguel as the Beermen had to choose between him and seven-year NBA veteran Dominic McGuire.
A full conference later and Rhodes, one of just four imports who were not replaced in the tournament, will go back home as a champion for the first time in his nine-year career.
The SMB import could not be more delighted with the outcome of his initial PBA stint.
“It happened in the Philippines. I’m just lost for words. I just want to thank San Miguel for choosing me over Dominic McGuire. Thanks to boss Ramon Ang for always giving me encouraging words, my bosses, my teammates,” said Rhodes.
“We went through a little adversity, but these guys, they’re great teammates. They welcomed me as family from Day One, and I came to a parade (PH Cup victory party) in my first day here and I’ll be having my own parade soon,” he added.
With the way he performed in the title-clinching game, Rhodes definitely deserves that parade.
Rhodes scored 20 of his 30 points in the first 24 minutes to set the tone early and was just a force on defense as he added 11 boards and four blocks in 38 minutes of action.
“I couldn’t sleep, man. I knew I had to set the tone. The other guys set the tone also, so first quarter, we just wanted to come in and punch them in the face first because if we do that, we know we’ll win the game,” he said, pointing out that he expected TNT to start strong so he felt the need to step up his game.
“Because they’ll be so intense trying to get it to a Game Seven, they’ll be shooting bad shots, so we did that and everything took care of itself,” he added.
Now that he’s finally done his job and won himself a title for the Beermen, the focus is now on former Rain or Shine import Wendell McKines to try and duplicate Rhodes’ success this conference. And the Best Import winner of the Commissioner’s Cup is confident that McKines will be up to the task.
“I told him the pressure’s on him now. The pressure’s off my back. I’m a champion, so I ain’t gonna worry about that,” Rhodes said in jest.
“But yeah, I just gave him encouragement. And he’s going to get the job done; he’s a hard worker.”