BEING a perfect fit for San Miguel Beer has already allowed Charles Rhodes to put up solid numbers in his first few games for his team.
What more when the SMB import has also adjusted to the officiating?
Rhodes showed how comfortable he is with the way referees are making calls in the PBA as he led the Beermen to a 112-101 victory over GlobalPort on Friday night.
Coming in averaging almost five fouls (4.8) that limited him to just 33.9 minutes in his first 10 games, the 6-foot-9 American big man committed only two fouls against the Batang Pier, enabling him to see almost 40 minutes of action.
“Finally, it took me like ten games to get used to it,” Rhodes said. “Now I'm used and I understand. It was a process, man, my first year playing in the Philippines, it was a process getting used to the referees, but I got it now.”
Rhodes, who turns 32 on June 25, typified SMB’s playoff mentality in its final game of the eliminations as he registered 34 points, five boards, two assists, and one block, against only one turnover.
“We gotta get in playoff mode, today was the day,” Rhodes said. “We just got to build off of that tomorrow in practice. Keep that mentality.”
The Beermen needed no less than a victory to secure one of the top two spots that dangle a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals; a loss would’ve seen them fall to as a low as fourth seed in a best-of-three series.
So Rhodes made sure his team would end up with the favorable scenario as he scattered 19 of his output in the final frame where the Beermen finished strong.
“We couldn't let that happen [GlobalPort comeback] and also I wasn't in foul trouble so that was a plus for us as a team,” Rhodes said.
“I didn't even know that (I scored 19 in fourth),” he added. “It was just a big game, we had to win to put us in the Top 2 and that was very important for us. That was our main goal.”
Now, he’s setting his sights on SMB’s No. 1 goal this season.
“This is what I came here for – to compete for a championship,” Rhodes said.