Taking its shot
Firepower versus chemistry—a mouth-watering matchup that could basically give a picture on whether or not there is any team that will be able to prevent San Miguel Beer from completing a PBA Grand Slam.
Defending champion Magnolia will try to use its vast familiarity with import Romeo Travis against Dez Wells and the Beermen in their first Governors’ Cup clash this season, one that could show how deep San Miguel really is and, if at all, how well can an equally star-studded team like the Hotshots contend.
“The only advantage that we have against San Miguel is, I think, our chemistry with Romeo,” Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said as they clash at 7 p.m. on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
After that, it seems that San Miguel has the edge on seemingly all fronts.
Wells is averaging 33 points and close to 10 rebounds a night, and judging from past games, counting the Beermen’s stint in the Terrific 12 in Macau, is capable of shooting the lights out on any given night.
Victolero is a defense-oriented coach, and it will take every bit of knowledge that he has to try and contain this San Miguel team that is backstopped by a local core that could pass as an all-star team.
Reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo leads that cast together with Chris Ross, Christian Standhardinger, Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot.
Marcio Lassiter is still in sick bay, but coach Leo Austria has been getting people to step up in his place, with Terrence Romeo and Von Pessumal still at his disposal.
Meanwhile, Columbian and Blackwater slug it out in the 4:30 p.m. curtain raiser, with the Dyip seeking to bounce back from a narrow loss to tournament leader KaTropa over the weekend.
San Miguel is one of two teams left without a defeat—TNT being the other one—and the Beermen seem to have all the tools they need to complete a Triple Crown sweep this time, which will be the second for the franchise following their 1989 coup with a team built around Ramon Fernandez.