Beermen to shoot for title slot minus June Mar, Marcio
MACAU—San Miguel Beer will continue its campaign in the East Asia Super League: The Terrific 12 still without its usual starters.
The Beermen topped Group B with a 2-0 record and advanced to a semifinals after humbling Ryukyu, 101-92, late Thursday night at Tap Seac Sports Pavilion here.
But they will gun for a championship berth matchup against CBA’s Liaoning with coach Leo Austria unable to field five-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and forward Marcio Lassiter. Point guard Alex Cabagnot, meanwhile, is listed as doubtful.
“I wish they could all play but I think Alex will suit up tomorrow,” said Austria during the semifinals press conference Friday. “I keep on asking if they will play because I don’t want to force them if they’re not 100 percent.”
Fajardo is still nursing his right ankle injury that he suffered in the Fiba World Cup, Lassiter is still recovering from an MCL injury, and Cabagnot had the flu earlier this week.
Nevertheless, Austria still has imports Dez Wells and Lester Prosper against a solid Liaoning crew.
Terrence Romeo and Christian Standhardinger hope to fill in for the absent stars of the last PBA team standing in the tournament.
Austria said Cabagnot has already practiced with the team, but beyond that, he isn’t putting any timetable on either Fajardo or Lassiter.
“June Mar definitely cannot play tomorrow because the swelling in his ankle has just started to subside,” said Austria who plans to play his center in the Governors’ Cup.
Ryukyu had a strong start in the game Thursday, taking a 12-4 lead early in the first but the Beermen closed the quarter out with an 11-0 run to take a 31-24 lead after Wells’ layup.
“From the start we knew this would be a difficult game for us and after they lost in their last game, we knew they would come out fighting hard,” said Austria. “We knew that they had a good game plan but we were ready for anything.”
The 6-foot-5 Wells finished with a game-high 42 points.