JAKARTA—Two Filipinos playing as imports for Indonesia had given San Miguel Beer major headaches in the finals series of the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Although the Beermen had wiggled their way to two thrilling wins, coach Leo Austria said they always have to be on the lookout for spunky guards Stanley Pringle and Jerick Cañada.
“They’re really the key factors in their team,” said Austria.
San Miguel was vying for a title sweep of Indonesia in Game 3 of the best-of-five series Wednesday night here, after the Beermen took the first two games by just an average winning margin of three points.
Pringle, a Filipino-American who traces his roots in Santa Filomena in Cagayan, could have been the Game 2 hero had he nailed the potential game-winner at the buzzer.
But there’s no denying Pringle’s all-around brilliance as he kept the Warriors in the thick of the fight and finished with a game-high 21 points.
“He dictates the tempo of the game,” said Austria. “Whenever he’s on court, instantly, the team’s [basketball] IQ goes up.”
Cañada, who played as Adamson’s back-up guard under Austria in the UAAP, had also shown renewed confidence in the Warriors’ bid for back-to-back crowns.
Although Pringle had said he’s open to play for the Philippine team or even the PBA, the 6-foot-1 talent remains under contract with the Warriors until 2014.
“Pringle plays hard and gives everything he has,” said Indonesia coach Todd Purves.
But, of course, Austria would still want the spotlight to fall on his Beermen, whose remarkable end-game poise had been the story of the series.
The Beermen rallied to a 75-70 decision in the opener where MVP Asi Taulava scored the team’s last six points, before surviving another heart-stopper, 66-65, in Game 2 that had Brian Williams finishing off a play.