SMB import AZ Reid glad to prove critics wrong: 'I bet you I don’t have a lot of doubters now'
"I bet you I don’t have a lot of doubters now. I guarantee that," says AZ Reid. Czar Dancel

AZ Reid already heard an assurance from Leo Austria, yet that didn’t stop him from putting up a performance that proved his coach right anyway.

Amid rumors about him getting the axe, the San Miguel Beer import showed why SMB should stick with him after exploding for 41 points highlighted by nine three-pointers to lead the Beermen to a 124-102 rout of Globalport in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday night.

It was a spectacular showing from the versatile American forward, who, once and for all, asked Austria about his future with the team.

“He asked me if he’s going to be replaced after the game and I said: ‘What? Nobody’s trying to change you,’” Austria said. “I like him and the management likes him.”

“Pero kung may sakit siya at hindi makakalaro, that’s the time, dahil we cannot afford to lose an import because this is a very short tournament.”

Rumors started to swirl after the 29-year-old Reid came up with so-so efforts in the first two games, both losses back when he was still recovering from a stomach infection that left him averaging just 15 points, nine boards, 3.5 assists, zero steal, and 5.5 turnovers in 35.5 minutes.

But the two-time Best Import more than made up for it in the next two games, where he normed 38.5 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, 1.5 steals, and just two turnovers in 41 minutes.

“I can’t control when I’m sick, but I can control when I’m healthy,” said Reid, who was confined for a few days. “And I bet you I don’t have a lot of doubters now. I guarantee that.”

“I know what I can do. I wasn’t in panic mode,” he added. “I just had to get my body back healthy and that makes the difference.”

Reid caught fire in the third quarter, where he pumped in 21 points and buried five triples as he conspired with Marcio Lassiter to lead an SMB surge that allowed them to pull away for good and hand the Batang Pier their first loss of the conference.

“Now I’m playing the way I play,” he said. “So I thank God for me getting my strength back.”

Austria was no doubt pleased.

“It was an amazing game for AZ,” Austria said. “Who would want to replace him after a performance like that?”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos