THE San Miguel Beermen hope to take advantage of the absence of the Indonesia Warriors’ Fil-American guard Stanley Pringle when they clash in the opening match of the Asean Basketball League on Friday at the Mahaka Square in Jakarta.
Pringle played a huge role in turning back the Beermen in last season’s title series but the former Penn State cager suffered a meniscus injury in the offseason and will be out for 12 weeks.
But San Miguel head coach Leo Austria said that even without Pringle, the Warriors are still a dangerous team.
“We really respect the Indonesia team,” said Austria, who took over from Bobby Parks in the offseason. “But without him (Pringle), it’s a great opportunity for us. We should not be complacent and stick with our game plan.”
The game starts at 8 p.m.
The Warriors have retained import Steve Thomas and added Christopher Daniels, a former PBA import out of University of Georgia.
Indonesia also added ceiling with 6-7 Fil-American Richard Smith, 6-8 Indonesian-Dutch Swen de Ruijter, and 6-6 Agustinus Indrajaya.
Also with the Warriors are former ABL MVP Mario Wuysang, Amin Prihantono, Christian Sitepu, and Filipino reinforcements Jerick Canada and John Smith, a late replacement for Pringle.
“(But) without Pringle, it will be hard for them to win a championship,” Austria said.
In their quest to bounce back from that title defeat, former PBA cagers Asi Taulava and Eric Menk have been signed up for this year’s campaign to join holdovers led by reigning MVP Leo Avenido and Chris Banchero.
Many-time PBA import Gabe Freeman and former Malaysia Dragons import Brian Williams will be reinforcing the squad.
RJ Rizada, Christian Luanzon, Val Acuna, Michael Burtscher, JR Cawaling, Axel Doruelo, Paulo Hubalde, and Hans Thiele round out San Miguel’s roster.
Other teams vying for the title this year are the Malaysia Dragons, Saigon Heat, Singapore Slingers, and Thailand Slammers.