SECOND stringers are expected to play a key role for San Miguel as the streaking Beermen seek to extend their win run against lowly Saigon Heat on Wednesday in the Asean Basketball League at the Tan Binh Stadium in Ho Chi Minh.
The Beermen will be eyeing their ninth consecutive victory in their 8:30 p.m. (7:30 p.m. Manila time) clash with the slumping Heat.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said he will use the game to give his second unit a boost of confidence especially with JR Cawaling and veteran Eric Menk out with injuries.
“With our streak, I have the luxury of giving more minutes to my bench players. This is to give them confidence since I might need them in the playoffs," Austria explained.
Austria was quick to praise the play of Hans Thiele, a former University of the East star, during the Beermen’s recent victory against the Singapore Slingers.
Thiele finished the game with 11 points and four rebounds in only 19 minutes of action.
“Hans will be very important for us if we want to use a bigger frontline in the playoffs,” he said.
Despite playing on the road, the league-leading Beermen are favored going into the game with their 11-3 (win-loss) slate. In contrast, Saigon has a woeful 3-11 record.
The Heat will also be playing with only one import as David Palmer was suspended for the game for his involvement in an altercation in the team’s previous match against the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers.
Saigon will be depending on Dior Lowhorn, and Filipino imports Al Vergara, Chris Sumalinog, and Jai Reyes to step up in Palmer’s absence.
But despite facing a short-handed opponent, Austria made it clear the Beermen are not taking it easy against the Heat.
“We have an advantage in the game, but have to be extra cautious. We should not be complacent about the other team having only one American import. We have to play our game and remember the things that have sustained our winning run so far,” Austria added.