Managing to pull off a huge win sans their marquee players, the San Miguel Beermen are on the right track to crack the top spot at the end of the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations.
Minus stars June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, and Ronald Tubid, the Beermen proved they are still a powerhouse team after outplaying the Star Hotshots on Easter Sunday, 117-98, notching their 5th win in 7 outings in the process.
Since they took a 3-day early break last week, the Beermen sacrificed their Maundy Thursday- Black Saturday schedule to prepare for their upcoming match which paid huge dividends on their part as they are now knocking on the top spot heading into the playoffs.
“I’m happy to see them playing well because they know the importance of this game,” said head coach Leo Austria as his squad climb to solo 2nd spot, just a game behind leader Meralco Bolts.
With teams getting entangled for positioning in the standing as the playoff about to unfold in the mid-season conference, Austria does not want to take any games lightly as they want the quotient system to work in their favor.
“We don’t want any complication at the middle of the standing dahil kumpol-kumpol dito,” said the Sariaya, Quezon native mentor. “We have a chance to get into no.1 in case there’s a tie on top because we beat Alaska and Meralco.”
Even without the of 2-time MVP Fajardo, the Beermen averted a championship hangover this time as they already surpassed their 2015 Commissioner’s Cup record (4-7) that cut them out of contention and eventually foiled their Grand Slam bid last season.
“Right now we’re playing well in the last two games na hindi siya naglaro,” said the 3-time PBA champion coach. “But we all know that with June Mar in the team is still a good addition for us because he is the best player in the league.”
Aiming to get at least 8 wins, San Miguel will face Brgy. Ginebra next in an all-important Sunday match-up that could spell the playoff fortune for both teams.
“We have to beat Ginebra first because they are also a contender and the most number of wins they can get is (also) 8,” said Austria. – By Jason Mercene
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