McKines shrugs off grand slam pressure, embraces chance 'to make history' with SMB
“I’m playing on the best team in the PBA and I play with a lot of heart and passion, so no pressure, just all opportunity,” says SMB import Wendell McKines. Jerome Ascano

WENDELL McKines is embracing the pressure of anchoring San Miguel Beer in its quest to pull off one of the greatest achievements in the PBA.

Fresh from their Commissioner’s Cup conquest that proved to be an encore to its Philippine Cup tite run, the Beermen are going for the hat-trick of championships this season and are leaning on McKines to lead their campaign in the Governors’ Cup.

Asked if he feels the pressure this early to lead his team to its second grand slam in franchise history, Mckines shrugged it off.

“No,” the SMB import said during the victory party at the San Miguel Corp. compound on Wednesday night. “I’m playing on the best team in the PBA and I play with a lot of heart and passion, so no pressure, just all opportunity.”

“I look at it as an opportunity to make history,” he added.

[See Champs celebrate with fans]

The former Rain or Shine and Alaska import is also hoping that third time’s the charm as far as winning a PBA title is concerned after falling short in his stint with the Aces and the Elasto Painters.

McKines came over early, joining the team during the playoffs of the midseason tournament.

“I had a chance to be around the team, get to know them as people, and them getting to know me, and that translates on the basketball floor,” McKines, who turns 29 next month, said.

“(I joined in) practice a little bit, but they were focused on the Commissioner’s Cup. But … we’re going to get to practice,” he added as the Beermen are set to report back to training in two weeks.

Commissioner’s Cup import Charles Rhodes gave his advice to McKines.

“I told him the pressure’s on him now,” Rhodes said. “The pressure’s off my back. I’m a champion, so I ain’t gonna (worry about that). But yeah, I just gave him encouragement. And he’s going to get the job done; he’s a hard worker.”

And McKines is hoping to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps.

“C Rhodes is my brother. He’s just telling me to just do me, just play with a lot of heart, just be a beast,” McKines said. “I’m on the best team, so things are going to be alright for me and for the team.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos