Surging San Miguel eyes solo ABL lead vs SaigonBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
San Miguel Beer may be expecting a ninth straight victory but coach Leo Austria doesn’t want the Beermen to come out too complacent against the depleted Saigon Heat in the Asean Basketball League tonight.
The Beermen go for the solo lead on the road versus the Heat, who will play minus suspended import David Palmer, at 7:30 p.m. at Tan Binh Stadium in Vietnam.
“We have to play our game and remember the things that have sustained our winning run so far,” said Austria. “One thing we want to avoid is complacency. We have to be prepared even if they don’t have Palmer.”
The suspension of Palmer added to the woes of the cellar-dwelling Heat, who only have three wins to show in 14 games.
Palmer was slapped with a one-game ban following an altercation with Thailand Slammers import Christien Charles in a recent game the Heat lost, 75-90.
Unlike the Heat, the Beermen had everything going for them the past month with Chris Banchero, Asi Taulava and imports Brian Williams and Justin Williams leading the way.
The Beermen rolled to an eighth straight win versus the Singapore Slingers, 80-69, at home last Saturday where Banchero (19 points) and Taulava (15 and 10 rebounds) shone.
Hans Thiele also emerged as a surprise performer in the Beermen’s last outing by tallying 11 points and four rebounds off the bench.
“Hans will be very important for us if we want to use a bigger frontline in the playoffs,” Austria said of the forward.
Filipino imports Al Vergara, Jai Reyes and Oping Sumalinog are expected to lead the Heat along with American Dior Lowhorn.