Beermen eye better finish after Terrific 12 semis
UTSUNOMIYA, JAPAN—The last time San Miguel Beer played under the East Asia Super League (EASL) banner, they finished in the top four.
This time, they are hoping to do better—and more.
“We want to improve on that standing and bring positive attention to the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) and also to the EASL,” Chris Ross said on Wednesday, during the tournament’s kickoff presser at Nikkan Arena here.
“Hopefully, this thing grows into exponential things in the future and we also want to be a part of that,” added the defensive ace, who skippers the Philippine Cup champions in the five-day showpiece that will pit the finest clubs across the region against each other.
San Miguel was one of the three clubs in the EASL’s Terrific 12 that was staged in Macau nearly four years ago. There, spitfire guard Terrence Romeo led the vaunted club to the knockout stage. They eventually fell to the Lance Stephenson-powered Liaoning Flying Leopards, 111-89.
On Thursday, the Beermen will battle the Ryukyu Golden Kings, who will feature some familiar names. The B.League bridesmaids now have in their employ Allen Durham, a former Meralco reinforcement and three-time PBA import; and Carl Tamayo, the former University of the Philippines star and a Gilas Pilipinas mainstay.
Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. (6:30 in Manila) with San Miguel hoping to bring the same dominance they had in the PBA Governors’ Cup that has helped them to a 7-2 mark and looking to deal a blow to the finest club of a league that has been recruiting young Filipino standouts out of college.
Ross is joined by nearly the same crew that won the all-Filipino crown in September last year. Jessie Govan, the club’s first choice for the third conference, will be serving alongside Cameron Clark.
Centerpiece June Mar Fajardo and athletic guard CJ Perez are also going to see action, fresh from Gilas Pilipinas duty. Romeo, meanwhile, is a game-time decision.
In the first game, EASL’s very own Bay Area Dragons are also looking to get their bid off the right foot against Korean Basketball League champion Seoul SK Knights, and they are hoping to do so with the help of lessons learned from their campaign in the PBA.
“The PBA is a great league. There were so many tough games which were such great experiences for everyone in our team,” said Dragons captain Duncan Reid.