Beermen eye share of 2nd vs Thai Slammers


San Miguel Beer gets back on the road today with renewed focus three days after a shock homecourt loss.

Shooting for a share of second, the Beermen battle the resurgent Chang Thailand Slammers in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) at 8 p.m. Manila time at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok.

“We are a talented team but we cannot allow the other team to outwork us,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “That’s the story behind our two losses, so we have to adjust.”

The Beermen missed out on the chance to grab the solo lead after absorbing a 96-98 loss in overtime against the Indonesia Warriors last Sunday. It was a game that could have been won in regulation, but the Beermen blew a 10-point lead against the defending champion Warriors in the last three minutes of the fourth.

The loss pushed the Beermen down to a share of third with the Singapore Slingers at 2-2, while the Warriors rose to a league-best 4-2.

The Beermen, though, face a Thai side that has found its groove with back-to-back wins.

Thailand coach Joe Bryant, the father of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, credited the leadership of his Filipino import Froilan Baguion and Chris Charles in their wins over the Slingers (65-62) and the Westports Malaysia Dragons (77-65).

“We executed very well and we played smart basketball,” said Bryant. “Chris did a great job rebounding the ball and we also have a great point guard in Froilan.”

The Beermen still remain favored with their solid lineup, led by Gabe Freeman—who erupted for 33 points and 15 rebounds versus the Warriors—Brian Williams, Chris Banchero, Leo Avenido and former PBA MVPs Asi Taulava and Eric Menk.

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