The focus of the San Miguel Beermen's defense in Game One of the ABL Finals will not be on the Indonesia Warriors' American imports or any their homegrown players.
Instead it will be on a player the Beermen consider one of their own.
Fil-American guard Stanley Pringle will be a marked man when the Beermen and the Warriors open their best-of-three finals on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“Pringle is a crucial guy. He is very quick especially during pick and rolls. He is a machine for the Indonesia team,” said SMB consultant Rajko Toroman in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
The Fil-American guard, whose mother is Filipina, played for Penn State in the US NCAA. He has averaged 17.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists in his seven games with the Warriors.
Since his arrival, the Warriors finished strong in the elimination round to gain the third-seeding in the eliminations. The 6-1 Pringle also helped the Warriors complete a sweep of inaugural champions Philippine Patriots in the semifinal as they advanced to the finals for the first time in franchise history.
“I’m not really worried about their American imports but if we can stop Pringle and even Mario Wuysang, if we can pursue them in the pick and roll, we will be successful,” said San Miguel guard Chris Banchero, who is expected to guard Pringle in the title series.
Game Two is set on June 23 at the Mahaka Square in Jakarta while a deciding third game, if necessary, will be played on June 30 at the Ynares Sports Arena.
SMB coach Bobby Parks said that he doesn’t see the one-week break as a factor in the series.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be a plus or minus for us. As far as players and coaches goes, we want to rest the players but at the same time, we want more games so it works both ways,” Parks said.
Led by imports Duke Crews, Nick Fazekas and local Leo Avenido, the top-seeded Beermen defeated the Westports Malaysia Dragons in three games during the semifinals to arrange a finals duel with the Warriors.