AFTER seeing his team fall by the wayside in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) playoffs, former NBA cager and now Sports Rev Thailand coach Joe Bryant believes San Miguel is destined to win this year’s championship.
The Slammers shocked the Beermen in the opener of their semifinals series, 62-60, but then lost the next three games of the best-of-five showdown to kiss their own title chances goodbye.
From what he saw and experienced, the father of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is convinced the Beermen have what it takes to topple defending champion Indonesia Warriors.
“I’m rooting for the Beermen in the Finals. Indonesia, you don’t have a chance,” said Bryant in a television interview.
At the same time, Bryant admits that has nothing but huge respect for San Miguel veteran Asi Taulava for still playing with a lot of fire despite his advanced age.
The Slammers coach said even at the age of 40, Taulava remains a joy to watch owing to his drive to win.
“He is 40 years. I’m close to 60 years old and if you see someone who plays this hard and still has a drive to win, it really means a lot,” Bryant said.
Taulava was a vital cog in the Beermen’s return trip to the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals.
In the series-clinching Game Four, Taulava finished with 15 points to propel the Beermen to a 77-61 rout of the Slammers and arrange a title rematch with the Warriors.
Taulava admitted that the Slammers were a tough lot.
“It wasn’t easy,” said the former PBA MVP. “We take our hats off to the Slammers and coach Bryant’s crew. The games were not easy. We had to go out there and battle.”
Taulava also has high regards for the Thailand coach.
“I have so much respect for him. I guess he knows how to motivate his team,” Taulava said.