Beermen still team to beat
JUST when it seemed that it was having a little bit of consistency problems for the tournament, San Miguel Beer made a statement to send a message that it is still the team to beat in the ongoing 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
Import problems and a brief losing streak made the grand slam-seeking Beermen seem human, but in the brightest lights, they shone to remind everyone why they have been dominating the league for the past three years.
Facing a must-win situation to remain in the top half and keep up with fellow contenders, San Miguel Beer faced a tall task of slowing down erstwhile red-hot Barangay Ginebra Sunday night in a blockbuster encounter.
The Beermen dominated before emerging victorious, 107-103. At the same time, they got their bearings back just in time for their second straight win.
Now, they are holding a 5-3 mark and are back among the top teams in the playoff race.
“At this point, we need to be in a better position and being a championship team, we’re handling it well and responding when we need to,” said San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria.
Beermen star Chris Ross said that the key for the team now is to turn on the switch.
“We’re now in playoff mode. We need to step up and approach this stretch as if it’s the playoffs already for us to get to where we want,” said Ross, who has been nothing but scintillating this season and is the Best Player of Week awardee.
The league-leading Gin Kings were the league’s hottest team coming in, winning seven straight prior to their meeting with the Beermen, but San Miguel Beer, losers of two of its last three games heading in, started showing once again why it is a team gunning for a third straight championship.
Revitalized by an import upgrade in Terrence Watson, the team’s third for the conference, and the refueled hunger of its potent locals, San Miguel Beer is once again looking to be a heavy favorite for yet another crown and Austria certainly hopes so.
“We’ve had issues with our imports this conference, but with Watson with us now, we have someone who is a better fit and the locals are also stepping up. Sana ma-sustain na namin ito at alam naman namin lahat what’s at stake para sa amin and that is the chance for a grand slam,” said Austria.