2-0 start puts Beermen in Dyip’s path—with an urgent need to solve up-and-down execution
New coach Jorge Gallent is making sure that keeping his players fresh would be the main priority after hurdling the first obstacle of a brutal week for San Miguel Beer.
But after a 105-86 win over the Blackwater Bossing on Wednesday to go 2-0 in the PBA Governors’ Cup, Gallent and the Beermen want to make sure they can overcome the schedule one game at a time, especially with another team coming off an upset next on the slate.
“Terrafirma came off a win so their confidence is high also,” Gallent said after San Miguel authored the lopsided result at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
The Beermen face the Dyip on Friday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City, before they head to Smart Araneta Coliseum for the marquee Sunday showdown with the Magnolia Hotshots.
San Miguel, however, can’t take Terrafirma lightly since the latter pulled off a stunning 96-88 upset of previously-unbeaten Meralco last Saturday in Antipolo.
Terrafirma has only won four times in the last 28 games dating back to the 2021 Philippine Cup, and the impression is that San Miguel will be in for a cake walk.
However, the Beermen’s performance was a carbon copy of their 114-93 romp of the Phoenix Fuel Masters three days earlier when their lead as big as the number of days in a month was slashed to more than half during the payoff period.
“We just have to learn from it, and we just have to play smart,” Gallent said. “In the first half, we kept running [our offense well], and then it suddenly stops. We just got to learn, we just have to watch film and see what’s happening there.
“And like I always say, if we give other teams a chance to come back, they will take advantage of it,” he added.
Staying unbeaten after two games since San Miguel management’s stunning decision to tap him as Leo Austria’s successor is something Gallent will take, obviously.
In both games, the Beermen leaned on hot starts, this time with Jericho Cruz (22 points) and import Cameron Clark (20 points and nine rebounds) sparking another blowout.
Defense, though, is what Gallent describes as the main catalyst.
“I think our offense is going up because of our defense,” he said. “It’s the defense that’s triggering our offense.”
Meanwhile, NLEX is tapping another former NBA player who will be tasked to fill the void once Jonathon Simmons completes his four-game stint in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Former Memphis Grizzlies cager Wayne Seldin Jr. is due to arrive in the next day or two to begin the Road Warriors’ transition after Simmons agreed to play the initial stages of the season-ending conference.
NLEX team representative Ronald Dulatre confirmed before NLEX took on TNT on Wednesday at PhilSports Arena Seldin’s signing, which was first bared by coach Frankie Lim in a television interview.
The 28-year-old is expected to make his debut on Feb. 8 against Commissioner’s Cup champion Barangay Ginebra at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Seldin was brought in with Simmons set to make a return to China after receiving offers prior to his Road Warriors debut.
What NLEX can hope is that Seldin can bring the same pedigree that Simmons provided.
After being left undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, Seldin played for the New Orleans for three games in 2017 before being signed by the Grizzlies where he spent two more seasons.
He was traded to the Chicago Bulls in 2019 before bouncing around the NBA G-League, Israel, Turkey and Italy.
Simmons is due to play against TNT before wrapping up his short tour of duty on Feb. 4 against slumping NLEX at Ynares Center.