Strong just got stronger as Charles Rhodes proving to be a perfect fit for SMB, says Paul Lee
Charles Rhodes is proving to be a good fit for the Beermen. Jaime Campos

PAUL Lee felt the best got even better as San Miguel Beer became tougher to beat in this PBA Commissioner’s Cup as evidenced by the Beermen's 103-97 win over the Hotshots  on Easter Sunday.

Already tough to topple in the Philippine Cup where they beat the Hotshots in their elimination-round meeting, the Beermen asserted their mastery of their sister in their first matchup in this midseason tournament with the addition of Charles Rhodes.

“Mahirap (talunin) kasi kahit na walang import, kahit na si June Mar (Fajardo) lang ang nasa loob, mahirap pa din eh,” Lee said. “Defending champion 'yan eh.”

“Sinasabi lang sa amin ni coach na double effort lang talaga,” he added as the Hotshots saw Rhodes scatter 29 points and 10 boards, and Fajardo chip in 10 and 11. 

The Hotshots, though, heeded coach Chito Victolero’s call as they managed to cut a 19-point lead to just four points, 99-95, following Lee’s triple from near the top of the key with a little over a minute left.

Lee had another chance to pull the Hotshots closer in the next possession, but missed a three-point try from the left wing, setting the stage for Chris Ross’ layup that extended the cushion to six points.

“Oo naman (nasayangan ako) kasi yun yung mga tira na lagi ko namang pina-practice or lagi kong ginagawa doon sa game,” Lee said. “Pero hindi mo naman lahat araw-araw mashu-shoot, so alam mo 'yun, practice ka na lang ulit, darating naman 'yung time na mashu-shoot mo naman 'yun.”

“Still positive,” he added as the Hotshots dropped a second straight assignment after starting the conference with four straight wins. “Kasi hindi mo na rin naman maibabalik 'yun. So try to bounce back in our next game.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos