Import Tyler Wilkerson was a no-show during the San Miguel Beer’s practice on Wednesday afternoon at the Greenmeadows gym in Libis, Quezon City, fanning speculations that the Beermen will play all-Filipino on Thursday night against Rain or Shine in their 2016 PBA Commissioners Cup semifinals series.
After storming his way out of their locker room following a 96-98 setback in Game 2 last Tuesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, the 6-foot-8 Wilkerson was asked to return but did not last long as cloud of uncertainty hovered over the Beermen’s camp.
It is not clear, however, if Wilkerson was told not to attend their training session but a team insider said the Beermen intend to field an all-Filipino crew in an all-important Game 3 showdown on Thursday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
“All-Fil (Filipino) na daw tom (tomorrow),” the insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disclosed to FOX Sports. “Beer-acle talaga.”
Without Wilkerson who is averaging 37.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 0.5 steals against 5.0 turnovers in the semis round, the Beermen will have their hands full and hope that their top locals, led by reigning two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, should rise to the occasion if they intend to stay alive and keep their Grand Slam hopes burning.
Should they survive in Game 3, the insider added the San Miguel Beer team management is looking at the possibility of bringing in a new import for Game 4 set on Sunday at the Big Dome.
The speculation is that former San Miguel Beer reinforcement Arizona “AZ” Reid, who led the Beermen to the Governors Cup crown last season, could be tapped to fill the void but there is one minor problem. The two-time Best Import awardee, who has also played for Rain or Shine before hooking up with the Beermen, has already left the country and is now at the United States for vacation.
The 6-foot-5 Reid has earlier indicated his plans of suiting up anew for the Beermen for the season-ending conference.
There will be a two-day window time for the Beermen to fly in a new import just in time for Sunday’s Game 4. But first things first, the Beermen need to survive Game 3.- By Jerome Lagunzad
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports