Tough SMB just gets tougher
Looks like a cinch for the San Miguel Beermen.
With four key reinforcements, the Beermen loom as heavy favorites to nail an unprecedented fifth consecutive all-Filipino title in the 44th season of the Philippine Association Basketball Association which gets going this Sunday.
Easily the prized addition is Christian Standhardinger, the 6-foot-8 Filipino-German who has more than proven his worth as last year’s top rookie pick.
He finally makes his Philippine Cup debut for SMB after missing the event to fulfill an earlier commitment to play for the Hong Kong Eastern Lions in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) early last season.
Paul Zamar, another ABL standout who shone for the Mono Vampire of Thailand, will be reunited with his father Boycie, who is one of the SMB assistant coaches, while the veteran Ronald Tubid returns to the Beermen from Columbian Dyip.
And in what many consider a big steal, the Beermen obtained three-time scoring champion and former Philippine team mainstay Terrence Romeo from the TNT KaTropa while giving up reserves Brian Heruela and David Semerad and their first round pick in the 2021 draft.
Reports said several TNT mainstays were unhappy playing with Romeo, who was traded by NorthPort early last season after a spat with coach Pido Jarencio, but the management decision to send the crack guard to an already powerhouse squad raised a lot of eyebrows.
Some experts said it would have been better if TNT had shipped Romeo to its sister team NLEX, which badly needs a court general with Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas still unavailable.
There were no complaints however from the rest of the teams. The PBA chair is Ricky Vargas of TNT, who took over as head when the league was in turmoil last year following the celebrated Standhardinger trade by Columbian to SMB that eventually cost Chito Narvasa his job as commissioner.
The Beermen went on to boost its coaching staff by tapping Jimmy Alapag as another assistant to head coach Leo Austria. Alapag will sit on the SMB bench when not coaching ABL champion Alab San Miguel.
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