ANTIPOLO – San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria is weighing an import change following Troy Gillenwater’s early ejection in their 123-119 overtime loss to Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night.
Gillenwater was thrown out late in the second quarter for physically contacting an official, leaving the Beermen with an all-Filipino lineup that stood toe-to-toe against the Elasto Painters before folding in the extra session.
“Import namin, we’ll have to think about it. We have to evaluate,” Austria said. “Kahit sinong player, kahit anong team naman, we have to evaluate kung helpful o hindi. Pero right now, we dont have any decision especially in this kind of situation. It should be a collective decision.”
Gillenwater finished with 11 points – nine in the opening period – three boards, one assist, and one steal againt two turnovers in less than 14 minutes of play.
“Compared to the other imports, we’re not impressed,” Autria admitted. “Pero yung first quarter niya, very impressive – first quarter lang. He should last at least 40 minutes per game but nakikita natin kanina, he’s so frustrated.”
“What they experience right now is a different ballgame,” he added. “Ina-underestimate yata nila ang PBA eh. We are in a different level. The only lacking in Filipino basketball is the height, but the skills in terms of talent, technical know-how, were at par sa big leagues. That’s why nasu-surprise sila. Yung physicality na sometimes nirereklamo nila.
Asked when the Beermen are making a decision, Austria said it will come in a “couple of days” to give them ample preparation ahead of their next game against Alaska on Saturday in Dumaguete, but he admitted there’s a chance they will have a new import by then.
“There’s a possibility, but I’m not sure because we don’t know yet,” Austria said. “Sabi ko nga sa inyo pag uusapan pa namin.”
Pressed further about who they could choose between former imports Renaldo Balkman and Charles Rhodes as replacement, Austria declined to comment.
“We’re not decided yet kung magpapalit or sinong papalit,” the SMB coach said. “We have to evaluate. It’s a collective decision. Actually sa pagkuha ng import lagi namin pinaguusapan it’s a trial and error. And then makikita mo ibang teams umpisa pa lang nagpapalit na pag ganyan eh.
“Hopefully magkaoron agad kami decision. The sooner the better,” he added.