San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria said the team has yet to make a final decision on whether Orlando Johnson will be replaced by Shabazz Muhammad despite an impressive showing in the last two games of the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Austria remained mum on Johnson’s status following the Beermen’s 104-99 win over the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, though hinted that the team could decide in the coming days.
“Let’s see what will happen in the next few hours or tomorrow,” Austria said when asked of the situation following the game held Wednesday, Feb. 23 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Muhammad’s arrival earlier this week has fueled speculations that Johnson’s days donning the Beermen uniform are numbered despite his impressive showing in the last two games.
Johnson bounced back from a 12-point, 3-of-22 shooting against TNT by firing 31 points in a 110-102 win over his former team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Against Phoenix, the ex-NBA player had 23 points, nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks to give SMB back-to-back wins and a 5-3 record for a joint tie for fourth with Alaska.
But those numbers may not be enough for Johnson, who came in as a replacement for Brandon Brown, to remain with San Miguel.
Despite the uncertainty, Austria was quick to praise Johnson for keeping a level-headed attitude.
“In spite of the news that came out in social media, alam natin naman na meron kaming pinarating na import and that is because of the availability, it pops out e,” Austria said.
“I think he’s (Johnson) very focused in this game since the start and that’s what we like from him. Very professional.”