SMB shakes off cobwebs, battles Saigon HeatBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
San Miguel Beer resumes its campaign fresh off a series of tuneup matches when the Beermen battle the Saigon Heat Saturday night in another road game in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
The Beermen, who made the most out of their two-week layoff, aim to follow up on their 64-53 road win against the Indonesia Warriors that left coach Leo Austria far from satisfied.
“We didn’t play very well; it just so happened we were lucky,” said Austria.
The Beermen take on a confident Heat side trying to extend their winning streak to three in the 8:30 p.m. (Manila time) encounter at Tan Binh Stadium in Vietnam.
Austria, though, expects the Beermen to execute better following several tuneup matches during the break, which included wins over PBA teams Barangay Ginebra, 102-93, and Barako Bull, 97-77.
American import Brian Williams posted a double-double of 15 points and 19 rebounds in the Season 4 opener where the Beermen exacted revenge on the Warriors, their finals tormentor last year.
Reigning MVP Leo Avenido and Chris Banchero also provided ample support for the Beermen, who boast a size and depth advantage over the Heat with former PBA MVPs Asi Taulava and Eric Menk and second import Gabe Freeman also in the roster.
The Heat, who have three Filipino imports in their lineup, rebounded from a setback against Malaysia (70-80) with back-to-back thrillers over Indonesia (77-72) and Thailand (77-75).