Leo Austria brushes off disagreement with Charles Rhodes after big SMB import tries playing point
Charles Rhodes got reprimanded by SMB coach Leo Austria for bringing the ball up from the backcourt. Jerome Ascano

ANTIPOLO – San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria refused to make a big deal out of a small disagreement with Charles Rhodes in the fourth quarter of the team’s 109-97 win over Alaska in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday night.

In a play midway through the payoff period, Rhodes took the ball across the halfcourt line and only gave it up when he found pressure from a couple of Aces defenders.

Although the SMB import had the luxury to do so as the Beermen enjoyed a huge lead, the play still didn’t sit well with Austria, who softly reprimanded Rhodes.

[See SMB vents ire on slumping Alaska]

“It’s a normal incident for a player and a coach, because I want to control the game,” Austria said in the post-game conference. “He’s the big man of the team and usually, I don’t want the big man to dribble a lot especially coming from the backcourt, and especially against Alaska, so many things could happen.”

“I’m trying to define the roles of each of my players tapos makikita mo na magdadala ng bola yung malaki mo, hindi naman siya si Magic Johnson eh,” he added of the 6-foot-9 Rhodes.

[See Flu-stricken Fajardo welcomes extra rest in SMB's easy win vs Alaska]

Austria, though, insisted it was nothing personal.

“That’s okay. It’s a part of ano lang yun eh,” Austria said as the 31-year-old Rhodes churned out 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting, 10 boards, two assists, one steal, and one block in 35 minutes.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos