San Miguel eyes ABL title sweep todayBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
JAKARTA—San Miguel Beer braces for another endgame thriller as it goes for the Asean Basketball League championship today against the Indonesia Warriors at Mahaka Square here.
Vowing to start strong, the Beermen hope to sweep the Warriors with another win in Game 2 of the best-of-three finals at 3 p.m. (4 p.m. in Manila).
A San Miguel triumph will bring the crown back to the Philippines, a year after inaugural champion AirAsia Philippines surprisingly got swept by Chang Thailand in last season’s finals.
San Miguel coach Bobby Parks has wasted no time whipping the Beermen back in prime form after their scrappy 86-83 Game 1 victory over the Warriors at home last week.
“We didn’t really play well in the beginning, but we hung around,” said Parks. “I don’t know if that was … championship jitters but at least we managed to keep our composure.”
Duke Crews and Nick Fazekas provided the endgame push and veteran guard Froilan Baguion also delivered with a clutch triple to help the Beermen recover from as many as 14 points down in the series opener.
“The first game of the series didn’t surprise me that it went down the wire because there are two great teams here,” said Parks.
For the Warriors, the main concern is how to avoid another second-half meltdown.
“I think fatigue became a factor down the stretch for us,” said Indonesia’s American coach Todd Purves.
Evan Brock and Stanley Pringle, Indonesia’s Filipino-American import, gave the Warriors the early boost in Game 1 and finished with a combined 45 points.
Although Parks admits it’s hard to stop a speedy and versatile guard like Pringle, he thinks the Beermen managed to slow him down in their last meeting.
Filipino-Italian guard Chris Banchero, who took turns with Baguion in trying to stop Pringle, expects another tough matchup.
“He’s (Pringle) a great a player,” said Banchero. “I expect him to come out and play his best. He’s just that type of a player.”