Beermen out to keep momentum vs WarriorsBy Jasmine W. Payo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
San Miguel Beer hopes to keep its momentum going as the Beermen’s two prolific imports return into action against the streaking Indonesia Warriors in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) tonight.
Brian Williams suits up anew after a knee injury sidelined him for two weeks and Gabe Freeman also returns from a one-game suspension in another expected thriller between last season’s finalists.
Vying for a third straight victory, the Beermen also aim to stop the defending champion Warriors’ seven-game winning roll in the 7 p.m. match (8 p.m. in Manila) at Tennis Indoor Senayan in Jakarta.
“Our locals are getting their confidence just at the right time,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
Even minus the fiery American duo, the Beermen turned back Westports Malaysia Dragons, 77-66, last week with guard Chris Banchero starring anew and substitute import Matt Rogers stepping up in the road-game win.
With the triumph, the Beermen picked up back-to-back wins for the first time this season to keep solo second with a 5-3 record.
“Our successive wins over Singapore and Malaysia should give us enough momentum against Indonesia,” said Austria.
But riding an even hotter streak are the Warriors, who rebounded from a 0-2 start by racking up seven straight wins to gain the lead.
The Warriors are coming off a 69-60 home-game triumph over Chang Thailand Slammers where Steve Thomas posted a double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds and Dodo Sitepu fired 15 points.
The two finalists split their first two meetings with both forging victories on the road. The Beemen kicked off the season with a 64-53 decision, but the Warriors got back at them a month later with a 98-96 overtime escape.