Beermen target 17th victory, go on the road vs SaigonBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
With the semifinals in mind, San Miguel Beer aims to wrap up its elimination run with another decisive victory in the Asean Basketball League Wednesday night.
The Beermen shoot for win No. 17 on the road versus the Saigon Heat—their final assignment in the triple round-robin—before heading to the Final Four as the top seed.
Game time is at 7 p.m. (8 p.m. in Manila) at the Tan Binh Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
“We have to try to get better and better going to the playoffs,” said San Miguel coach Bobby Parks.
But that’s exactly what San Miguel has done the past month as latest additions Nick Fazekas, Chris Banchero and Duke Crews towed the Beermen to six straight victories for a 16-4 record.
The string of triumphs propelled the Beermen to the top spot and dislodged the AirAsia Philippine Patriots, who hit a rough patch to slip to second at 15-5.
But Parks said the Beermen are far from taking it easy even if the Heat already bowed out of semifinal contention with a 7-12 card.
“We are not putting our guard down even against Saigon,” said Parks. “As I’ve said before, any team can beat any team in the ABL on a given night. Plus, we want to be in a playoff mind-set in time for the semifinals.”
The Beermen, of course, know this very well as their last loss came against the Heat, who shocked them at home, 63-66, in their second meeting last March.
But the Beermen hope to build on their winning run, the last on a 91-77 drubbing of the Bangkok Cobras over a week ago.
The Beermen have yet to lose since signing up Fazekas last month as the 6-foot-11 American again got away with 25 points and 15 rebounds against the Cobras.
Banchero, coming off another big outing of 22 points, has similarly been sensational.
The Heat, meanwhile, will lean on Jonathan Jones, Robert Sanz and Jahmar Thorpe.