Austria sees 'twin towers' with Charles Rhodes, Fajardo as Santos slides down to 3 spot
Charles Rhodes says the bar has been raised for the Beermen after the championship run in the PBA Philippine Cup. Jaime Campos

SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria envisions a formidable frontline combination with Charles Rhodes in tow for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The SMB import, listed at 6-8 is set to team up with June Mar Fajardo down low, allowing Arwind Santos to play the small forward spot at times as the Beermen aim for an encore of their recent Philippine Cup conquest at the expense of Barangay Ginebra.

“Alam niya na mayroon kaming June Mar, magkakaroon kami ng twin towers then Arwind will slide down to 3 position,” Austria said on Wednesday before the start of the team’s fans’ day on Wednesday. “Para magkaroon kami ng big lineup.”

Austria described Rhodes, a Korean Basketball League veteran who last played for Ulsan Mobis Phoebus, as a solid rim protector.

“Very impressive, yung mga shot blocks nya,” Austria said. “Actually number one sya sa block shots sa mga import sa Korea. Defensive-minded siya, ayaw niya ng nashooshootan siya dahil hinahabol nya talaga going to the rim.”

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And Rhodes promised to bring intensity on the defensive end.

“Same thing I’ve been bringing to all the other teams: I’m just a ferocious player,” the 31-year-old cager said. “I love contact. I’m just a passionate player. I play with passion.”

But the journeyman American, undrafted in the 2008 NBA Draft, is well aware it’s easier said than done as the Beermen gun for back-to-back titles and step up their bid for a Grand Slam this time.

“The bar is high – for any team I would’ve come to in the Philippines,” the Mississippi State product said. “This is a place I always wanted to play in, so wherever I would’ve went to, I was going to give my hundred percent.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos