SAN Miguel Beer tries to recommit to its quest for sustained excellence as it begins its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign on Saturday against Mahindra at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
The Beermen, back after a historic Philippine Cup conquest at the expense of Alaska once again, return to the grind on the road at 3 p.m.
SMB, the most successful team in the league, is eager to avoid what happened in the last midseason tournament where an all-Filipino conference championship hangover led to the Beermen losing their first four games on the way to missing the playoffs.
“We have to learn from our lesson,” SMB coach Leo Austria said.
“I didn’t want to be a killjoy then,” Austria admitted. “Deserving naman sila magkaroon ng kahit konting extension, but hindi naging maganda sa amin 'yun dahil nagkaroon kami ng slow start.”
It’s easier said than done as the Beermen are going to miss a few of their stars against the Enforcers.
Alex Cabagnot is excused from the Mahindra game due to a family matter, while Arwind Santos has yet to recover from the Philippine Cup grind.
Cornerstone June Mar Fajardo is also questionable as he also wants his knee injury to completely heal before playing.
Import Tyler Wilkerson and Finals MVP Chris Ross, in turn, are expected to lead the Beermen against the Enforcers, who are hoping to bounce back from a 110-102 loss to Blackwater on Valentine’s Day.
Star seeks to barge into the win column after starting the conference with two defeats as it takes on NLEX (1-1) in the second game of the double-header at 5:15 p.m.