San Miguel Beermen halt jittery PH Patriots top ABL preseasonBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Showing their readiness for the tougher grind ahead, the San Miguel Beermen overcame the AirAsia Philippine Patriots, 84-76, Sunday night to rule the To Be Number One Basketball Challenge in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Beermen seized control with a 7-0 spurt anchored on import Richard Jeter early in the final period and sustained their drive to complete a three-game sweep of this tournament that serves as a warmup for the third season of the Asean Basketball League next month.
San Miguel had earlier downed the Indonesia Warriors, 75-69, and Singapore Slingers, 79-69, in the group phase.
The Patriots, champions of the inaugural season of the ABL, also came into the game unbeaten after toppling the Saigon Heat and Thailand.
But the Beermen showed they will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming season, coming through with several quick spurts that paved the way for a 41-33 halftime edge.
Patriots coach Glenn Capacio said the Beermen deserved to win.
“They (Beermen) are prepared, while we are still far from being called a team,” Capacio said in Filipino.
The former Far Eastern U mentor vowed to pull out all the stops to make the Patriots a contender when the season opens Jan. 14.
“What’s important is that we were able to see how the other teams play and how we can also improve as a team,” Capacio said.
The coming season has been considered as the toughest yet by Patriots manager Erick Arejola, citing the presence of the Beermen.
SAN MIGUEL 84—Johnson 17, Cabatu 17, Banchero 16, Jeter 13, Baguion 9, Fernandez 4, dela Pena 4, Fajardo 2, Luanzon 2, Basco 0.
PH PATRIOTS 76—Johnson 26, Miller 24, Wainwright 9, Juntilla 8, Vergara 6, Ybanez 2, Arellano 1, Fernandez 0, Larong 0, Rodriguez 0.
Quarters: 22-22, 41-33, 57-56, 84-76