Beermen, Patriots aiming to bring ABL title back homeBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—More than bagging the championship, the ultimate goal for San Miguel and Philippine Patriots is to bring home the crown.
The possibility of an all-Filipino finals looms as the semifinals of the 3rd Asean Basketball League kick off in two weeks, but the top two squads, which have created a fiery rivalry on the court, are bound by one goal.
“Of course, we want to win, but if something happens and we don’t win, we want to see a Filipino team win the title,” said San Miguel head coach Bobby Parks Tuesday in the PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue.
“It says a lot about the Philippine basketball,” Parks added.
But before both squads could think about the title, they first have to hurdle separate opponents who have their number after the three-round eliminations.
For San Miguel, it’s figuring out how to halt the duo of Brian Williams and Tiras Wade, two of the most efficient imports in the league, grinding it out for the Westports Malaysia Dragons.
“Our main aim is to slow down Williams and Wade, the leading scorer in the ABL. Players like them you can’t really stop, so we just have to slow down,” said Parks.
The maiden champions Patriots, meanwhile, will have Nakiea Miller in tow again when they try to exact revenge on the beefed-up Indonesia Warriors.
“We have to slow them down. Stanley Pringle and Evan Brock made the difference in that game,” said Patriots assistant coach Louie Gonzales, as his squad took a beating against the Warriors without Miller .
Both Filipino squads, though, have the valuable upper hand of playing the opening games of the best-of-three semis here at home.
“There’s no championship for being on the top—the home advantage is the price. That’s what you play for,” said Parks.
“Playing in your home turf is an advantage. Players get to rest more,” said Gonzales, who was present in the weekly forum for head coach Glen Capacio.
The Beermen will lean on its talented and equally experienced line-up to bring them to the finals on only their first season in the ABL.
“What we have is we have experienced players, both PBL and PBA players. It’s a matter of which local players are playing well for the night,” said Parks.
The Philippine Patriots, on the hand, hope that the two-week rest would help the players regain their tiptop shape before the final grind.
“We told the players to be healthy to prepare for the playoffs time,” said Gonzales. “It all boils down to preparation with two weeks’ rest.”
The semifinals start on May 24 and games are played at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.