SAN Miguel hopes to have big guard Chris Banchero ready for the final stretch of the eliminations in preparation for the coming Asean Basketball League (ABL) playoffs.
Coach Leo Austria said Banchero could still see action in at least one of the Beermen’s final three games just to get him ready for the semifinal round.
The Beermen already clinched the top spot in the ABL playoffs after beating defending champion Indonesia Warriors, 70-66, on Friday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
But Austria stressed the importance of Banchero to have a feel of the game again before he goes full steam in the playoffs.
“I want him to play (before the semifinals) because importante ‘yung timing,” said Austria of the Fil-Italian guard. “’Yung game condition, mahirap kunin ‘yun.”
Banchero suffered a tendon tear in his left quadriceps after figuring in a collision during the Beermen’s match against the Westports Malaysia Dragons a few weeks back.
But Banchero,who was raised in Seattle, appears ready to return to action.
Austria said Banchero, the team’s top scorer averaging with 16.44 points per game, will already start attending practices with the Beermen, who will be having two games at home in the coming week against Sports Rev Thailand Slammers on Wednesday and Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
“Next week, he will start practicing pero more on shooting lang dahil gusto namin ‘yung muscle na tinamaan, mag-heal 100 percent dahil anytime, puwedeng mag-recur. Ayaw namin ma-aggrevate dahil we are just waiting kung sino ang makakalaban naming (sa playoffs),” said Austria.
The Beermen are currently on a 13-game winning streak, but on several occasion, were on the verge of suffering a loss especially after losing Banchero to injury.
San Miguel wona tight contest against Thailand in Bangkok two weeks ago, 78-70, before escaping the upset axe via a 71-69 win over cellar dweller Saigon Heat on April 27.