Despite the reported arrival of former NBA player Shabazz Muhammad who’s now in town to take his place, Orlando Johnson is still hoping to keep his job.
The 32-year old former Brgy. Ginebra import had a forgettable debut against TNT but displayed flashes of his old self during the Beermen’s marquee match-up against the Gin Kings last Sunday.
Johnson led the team with 31 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 8 assists as the flagship team of the SMC group bounced back from a crushing loss to the Tropang Giga with a 110-102 victory to move above .500 at 4-3.
The 36th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft stressed that the reason for his disappointing performance against TNT was his being away from competitive basketball for almost a year.
“I knew it was only a matter of time,” said Johnson during an interview with a couple of reporters on Sunday. “I haven’t played in a while. I knew I was going to be rusty, but I wasn’t hoping [to be] that rusty in the first game, but it happens. I really just wanted to come back and play well.”
With team management keeping its cards close to its chest with regards to changing imports, Johnson remains positive that he’ll stick around and get his groove back sooner rather than later.
“We just want to keep building,” said Johnson. “I know [my teammates’] last game [before playing TNT] was back in Dec. 26, and that’s like two months ago, myself a year ago.”
“So we’re just finding that chemistry. The first game, all of us were a little rusty, but we really wanted to have a good performance against a high-power team in Ginebra,” he added.