AFTER winning its first Asean Basketball League (ABL) crown, San Miguel sees a tougher campaign next season as it expects every team to be hot on its trail.
And so despite the six-month offseason, the Beermen are leaving no stones unturned in their bid to defend their championship next year.
“The challenge is to become better,” said SMB team manager Rico Meneses in Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at Shakey’s Malate. “Every year, the competition is getting stronger and the teams are more complete.”
The Beermen swept the Indonesia Warriors in the best-of-five Finals to capture their first-ever league title since joining the ABL in 2012.
Despite the team establishing a new ABL record of 16 consecutive wins at one point during the regular season, Meneses said the title didn’t come easy owing to the improved plays of the other teams.
“There is a lot of talent right now with Fil-Ams and local players. You can see the intensity and the talent in the players,” said the San Miguel official.
Coach Leo Austria said the team is driven to retain its title next year.
“For sure, we want to become back-to-back champions,” said the soft-spoken mentor. “But it’s too early to tell. I’m sure the management has plans for the team. We want to be better next season.
“Every team in the ABL wants to form a competitive team knowing that San Miguel is strong,” added Austria.