The San Miguel Beermen received a rude welcome from the NorthPort Batang Pier by way of a 33-point beating, 121-88, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The newly-crowned Philippine Cup champions paraded former Best Import awardee Charles Rhodes who came through with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists in his first game back since leading the Beermen to the promised land of the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.
The presence and effort, however, of the 33-year old American, were not enough to save the debuting powerhouse team from absorbing a disappointing and embarrassing defeat.
“My first game back and we get blown out like that, it’s just very disappointing. Probably like my worst loss ever as a pro — has to be. It was very embarrassing just to see like there was no energy, everybody wasn’t playing hard,” said Rhodes.
The 33-point loss was also the worst for SMB in 8 years, or since the team got blown off the court by 41 points by guest team SMART Gilas Pilipinas during the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup.
Despite the stinging setback, Rhodes remains optimistic that the Beermen will improve as the conference progresses and eventually reclaim the crown they lost to sister team Brgy. Ginebra San Miguel last season.
“Yeah, I think it’s just our first game. I don’t make excuses but they (NorthPort) already played like four games and we didn’t have our legs. There’s no need to panic. We’re going to be at the top at the end.”