Parks hopes for all-Filipino ABL title duelBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
EVEN as San Miguel Beer and AirAsia Philippines brace for a tough semifinal series, the top seeds confidently project an all-Filipino championship in the Asean Basketball League.
“We’re happy to see the top two teams from the Philippines [in the Final Four],” said San Miguel coach Bobby Parks. “It’s country pride first. We want to be the best in Southeast Asia.”
The Beermen—who clinched the No. 1 spot after topping the eliminations with a 17-4 record—will clash with the No. 4 Malaysia Westports Dragons (11-10) at the semifinals kickoff on May 26.
Ranked second with a 16-5 card, the Patriots will battle the No. 3 Indonesia Warriors (12-9) in the other best-of-three series on May 27.
Both Philippine squads will tote a twice-to-beat advantage as an incentive for ruling the triple-round eliminations.
“If it’s an all-Filipino championship, it says a lot about Philippine basketball,” Parks said in the PSA Forum yesterday at Shakey’s UN Avenue. “Of course, we want to win. We’re all friends, but on court it’s all business.”
A sizzling San Miguel squad closed out the eliminations with a seven-game winning streak behind American imports Nick Fazekas and Duke Crews and a talented local crew led by Chris Banchero, Leo Avenido and June Mar Fajardo.
The Beermen, who tinkered with their lineup late in the eliminations, think they’re now far from the squad that lost twice to the Dragons.
“We’re looking forward to taking care of business,” said Banchero.