Daily Tribune (Philippines)

Shabazz shows off scoring savvy


It certainly looks like Shabazz Muhammad and San Miguel Beer (SMB) have forged a lasting partnershi­p for the remainder of the Philippine Basketball Associatio­n’s Governors’ Cup. Muhammad, a 2013 National Basketball Associatio­n first-round draft pick, exploded for 57 points in the Beermen’s come-from-behind 115-110 win over Meralco, a feat that left a smile on head coach Leo Austia’s face.

That 57-point output was the biggest since former San Miguel Tyler Wilkinson banged in 58 and NLEX reinforcem­ent Al Thornton scored 69 in the game wn by the Beermen, 131-127, in 2016. Muhammad’s sudden rise came at an opprtune time as te squad is revving up to claim a twice-to-beat edge going into the quarterfin­al round.

I’m so thankful that we were able to unlock the potential of Shabazz.

SMB finished its preliminar­y campaign with a 7-4 card, now sitting in third place and will now have to wait for the end of the eliminatio­n round to determine its final placing.

“I’m so thankful that we were able to unlock the potential of Shabazz. I can see it from his eyes,” Austria said.

After a slow 3-2 start with former import Brandon Brown, San Miguel management decided to make some changes by tapping veteran reinforcem­ent Orlando Johnson in December.

Johnson’s stint, however, did not turn out well as he was limited to only 12 points when the Beermen suffered a 96-81 loss to TNT Tropang Giga.

Now that Muhammad is sowing the stuff he’s made of, Austria is confident that they are bound for stronger performanc­es in the quarterfin­als.

“I hope this momentum may continue because our next game will already be in the second round, it’s playoff time,” Austria said.

“He previously told me that he’s here to win a championsh­ip and that’s something that he still needs to show.”

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