MANILA, Philippines – Rashawn McCarthy's rookie year in the PBA was mostly uneventful, even though he played for one of the best teams in the league.
The San Miguel Beermen took McCarthy in the second round of the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft. He proceeded to spend most of his first year in the league stuck on the bench, appearing only in nine games for a veteran-laden SMB squad.
He played an average of 5.4 minutes, and scored 2.3 points per contest. At the end of the season, he was part of the package that San Miguel sent to Kia in exchange for the top pick in the 2017 PBA Rookie Draft – which turned out to be Christian Standhardinger.
"Last year was a tough year, personally, even though it was a successful year," said McCarthy, referring to San Miguel's two championships in the previous season.
Still, McCarthy said his stint in San Miguel was crucial to him, as he learned from some of the best players in the league – especially from SMB guards Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter.
"Those are my guys," said McCarthy. "I learned a lot from Chris, Alex, Marcio. All those guys are helping me."
Now that he is with the Kia Picanto, McCarthy is focused on taking what he learned from San Miguel and using it to help his new team.
"I'm just trying to take some things I learned from those guys and bring it over here," he explained. "Play hard, next play mentality, and just continue to work hard."
In his first game with his new team, McCarthy played almost 29 minutes – more than he did in the entirety of last year's Philippine Cup – and finished with 14 points, six rebounds, and five assists. The Picanto lost to NLEX, 119-115, however.
"It feels good to get out on the court and play," he said. "I feel like I need to get my conditioning in, because I haven't played that many minutes. It's just a work in progress. I felt good, though."
McCarthy is not the only former San Miguel player who is now with Kia. Veteran guard Ronald Tubid and big man Jay-R Reyes were all part of the trade as well, and they both saw action against NLEX.
Tubid had four points off the bench but missed most of the game after sustaining a hard fall in the first half. Reyes was solid, contributing 12 points and 12 rebounds while scoring some clutch baskets.
Kia coach Chris Gavina was pleased with what the former Beermen provided for them.
"(Ronald's) swagger is really contagious," he said. "And Rashawn, once he comes into his own a little bit with regards to how we want things done, especially on the defensive end, he could really attack and make decisions, and I think he'll come along as he gets used to our flow."
"Jay-R just showed that he still has it, he still has a lot left in his tank," Gavina added. "A lot of them played with a big chip on their shoulders, and I hope they can continue that going forward."
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