MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel head coach Leo Austria had nothing but kind words for import Shabazz Muhammad, who propelled the Beermen to a 104-100 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Thursday, March 3.
Austria praised Muhammad’s energy and his attitude towards the game as the former NBA player came up with a huge double-double of 33 points and 21 rebounds in only his second game with the Beermen.
“Yung energy niya, ibang iba (His energy is very different),” said Austria of the former Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks guard Muhammad.
“His rebounding, and then you’ll see his attitude towards the game, he would really like to score,” Austria added in a mix of English and Filipino.
The multi-titled PBA coach also shared that Muhammad really wanted to bounce back from his disappointing debut for San Miguel on Sunday, February 27, where he shot 11-of-28 from the field and tallied 8 turnovers in the Beermen’s 17-point loss to the league-leading Magnolia Hotshots.
“In our first loss with him, he was so disappointed,” said Austria.
“He told us that we will bounce back that’s why he was so focused in this game.”
Muhammad, the 14th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, once again finished with a subpar 12-of-27 shooting clip against the Elasto Painters, but recorded just 4 turnovers this time around, while also dishing out 6 assists in the win.
“I told him before that he should involve his teammates and he should play according to the flow of the game and that’s what happened,” added Austria of Muhammad, who came in as an import replacement for his fellow NBA veteran Orlando Johnson.
With Muhammad now having two PBA games under his belt, San Miguel, which is tied with the Alaska Aces at the No. 4 spot with a 6-4 record, will look to stay in the hunt for a twice-to-beat quarterfinal advantage when it faces the third-seeded Meralco Bolts on Saturday, March 5, at 6:30 pm. – Rappler.com