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    Austria's men eager to ride wave of good form

    Mar 16, 2013
    Coach Leo Austria and the Beermen eye their eighth win in 11 games. Jerome Ascano

    SAN Miguel Beer aims to ride on the momentum of the emphatic win over the Singapore Slingers as it takes on the Saigon Heat on Sunday in the Asean Basketball League at the Tanh Bihn Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

    The Beermen (7-3) routed the Slingers (4-6), 73-53, on Friday night as Chris Banchero came up with 22 points while Brian Williams and Asi Taulava pitched in a combined 26 points and 20 of the team’s 42 rebounds.

    “We were not playing well and were too relaxed in the first half. But in the second half, we defended well and that fueled our offense,”said SMB coach Leo Austria, who expects a stronger effort from his players against the Heat (3-6) in the 4:30 pm game (5:30 p.m., Manila time) that is part of the three-day Asean Hoops Fest.

    Austria is quite satisfied with the defensive performance of new import Justin Williams, formerly with PBA ballclub Globalport, who had seven points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks in his debut for the Beermen.

    “Justin helped us at the defensive end. His blocks allowed us to increase our lead in the second half and secure our victory,” Austria said. “He is still feeling his way around in our system.”

    Sunday's other games pit the Chang Thailand Slammers (3-8) against the Slingers and the Indonesia Warriors (8-3) versus the Westport Malaysia Dragons.

    Malaysia routed the Heat, 90-69, with the latter missing the services of Dior Lowhorn, who was nursing a high fever. The Warriors kept their hold of top spot with a 74-67 victory over the Chang Slammers.

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    With Lowhorn still a doubtful starter against the Beermen, the Heat will have to rely anew on lone American import David Palmer and assistant coach Rob Wainwright, Jai Reyes, Larry Tieu and Al Vergara.

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    Coach Leo Austria and the Beermen eye their eighth win in 11 games. Jerome Ascano
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