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    Orlando Johnson to play in SMB game vs Phoenix despite Shabazz arrival

    Feb 22, 2022
    Orlando Johnson Shabazz Muhammad
    PHOTO: PBA Images | AP

    A MORE motivated Orlando Johnson is expected to answer the call for San Miguel Beer Wednesday when it takes on Phoenix as action in the 2021 PBA Governors Cup shifts to the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

    The 32-year-old Johnson will continue to don the Beermen jersey in the 6 p.m. encounter against Dominique Sutton and the Fuel Masters amid talk that fellow former NBA player Shabazz Muhammad is set to take his place.

    “OJ is playing tomorrow,” team manager Gee Abanilla curtly said.

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      Other than that, the team has kept mum about its import situation despite the 29-year-old Muhammad, a first-round pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz, arriving in the country on Tuesday morning.

      Johnson, who previously played for Barangay Ginebra in 2015, had a rude reception in his return in the PBA, held to a 3-of-22 shooting from the floor for 12 points in a 96-81 blowout loss to rival TNT Tropang Giga.

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      Second thoughts on OJ

      The loss against the same team that ousted San Miguel in the Philippine Cup semifinals, had management having second thoughts about how far the Beermen can go deep in the playoffs with Johnson reinforcing them, sources bared.

      But Johnson, who had stints with Indiana and three other NBA teams, redeemed himself the next game, coming through with a near triple-double of 31 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists in San Miguel’s 110-102 win over defending champion Barangay Ginebra.

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      “I just really wanted to come back and play well. And I know with the work that I put into the game, I know it’s gonna show and that it’s just a matter of time,” said the San Miguel import following the Beermen’s fourth win in seven outings.

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        Johnson said he’s just looking to build on the chemistry with the Beermen which he said, is what would take them farther into their campaign.

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        “That’s what would take us into the process, chemistry. That would keep us to one another,” he added.

        The Beermen are facing a Phoenix side that also carries a 4-3 record and won its last outing against TNT, 93-92.

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        PHOTO: PBA Images | AP
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