Depleted Patriots, Beermen face separate foes
MANILA, Philippines—Bidding to stay in the top two, AirAsia Philippines and San Miguel Beer brace for tough separate outings as they play minus several key cogs in the Asean Basketball League Wednesday.
The Patriots try to do without top scorer Anthony Johnson and two other suspended veterans versus the resurgent Saigon Heat at 7 tonight (8 p.m. Manila time) at the the Tan Binh Stadium in Vietnam.
With two reliables also serving a one-game ban, the Beermen hope to make the most out of their homecourt advantage against the Singapore Slingers at 4 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Patriots will miss Johnson’s team-best 23.6-point average, as the American import serves a one-game suspension along with Ardy Larong and Erick Rodriguez.
“They (Heat) have two good imports and we have only one import right now, so it’s difficult to match with them,” said Patriots coach Glenn Capacio.
The Patriots trio figured in a bench-clearing brawl with Beermen Aries Dimaunahan and Junjun Cabatu, who similarly got sanctioned, in a heated match between the two Philippine squads over a week ago.
Capacio said the Patriots face a confident opponent in the Heat, who surprisingly strung up three victories after a
The Heat stunned erstwhile leader Westports Malaysia Dragons, 70-69, last Sunday with new import Jahmar Thorpe fueling their run along with Jonathan Jones and Filipinos Noy Javier, John Smith and Robert Sanz.
Capacio said the Patriots can pull off a repeat of their first-round triumph, 76-62, over the Heat if 6-foot-6 center Adrech Ramos steps up anew along with latest recruit Kiko Adriano.
“Kiko was impressive on both offense and defense,” Capacio said of the former PBA guard, who had a notable debut in the Patriots’ 72-68 win over Indonesia last Sunday.
San Miguel coach Bobby Parks also expects another big game from new import Jarrid Famous, who got off the funk by burying 18 points in the Beermen’s 92-77 triumph over Chang Thailand.
“He’s trying to blend with the team in the first two games, and now, he’s starting to get more familiar with how the team plays,” said Parks.
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