Beermen try to hike win streak

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CHRIS Banchero will be out of action for at least two weeks but San Miguel Beer remains favored to stretch its Asean Basketball League winning streak to 11 games when it battles Sports Rev Thailand today at Nimibutr Stadium in Bangkok.

“We want to continue the record, our winning streak, because we’re after the No. 1 spot,” said Austria, whose team now owns the longest win streak in the league’s four-year history.

Austria said he has several guards who can ably pinch-hit for Banchero, who averages a team-best 16.4 points and 4.2 assists, in the 7 p.m. duel with the Thais.

Banchero, the Filipino-Italian guard emerging as an MVP contender, sustained a thigh tendon tear after a hard collision with Malaysia’s Moala Tautuaa in the game won by the Beermen, 80-62, last Friday. He is expected to be sidelined from two to three weeks.

“We will miss Banchero’s scoring, playmaking skills and leadership, so we need our guards to step up not only [tonight] but in the coming weeks,” said Austria, adding that he now expects Paolo Hubalde and Jeric Fortuna  to step up.

“Paolo and Jeric are both experienced players,” added Austria. “I am confident that they can provide leadership and help us execute the system both in offense and defense.”

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