SAN Miguel Beer found one of its deputies valuable to practice alongside with the team as it prepares for the opening of the PBA 46th season.
The Beermen utilized lead head coach Peter Martin to play during scrimmages especially at a time when six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo has yet to join the team on 5-on-5 practices and Mo Tautuaa was on loan to the national team for the 3x3 Gilas men’s team in the last Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz, Austria.
The 6-foot-5 assistant coach, a former starting center for the San Sebastian Stags in the NCAA, referred to himself as a mere ‘panakip butas.’
“Minsan kapag kulang, sumasali ako if coach Leo (Austria) asked me to,” said Martin, a first-round pick of Pepsi at No. 7 overall during the 1996 PBA draft.
June Mar Fajardo close to full recovery
But the task became tougher for the ex-PBA player when Fajardo rejoined the Beermen in scrimmages.
Like what everybody else knew, Martin said it was difficult trying to guard the 6-foot-11 Fajardo now that he’s regaining the form that made him the most dominant player in the league for the past six seasons.
“Sobra,” said Martin when asked how hard it is going up against the 31-year-old giant, who’s coming back after more than a year of absence following an off-season surgery to repair his fractured tibia.
“Halos game ready na (siya). Nakakatuwa na makita siyang naglalaro ulit.”
With Taututaa rejoining the Beermen and the recent signings of free agent big men James Sena and Alfonso Gotladera, Martin has seen lesser action in scrimmages.
“Kapag kulang sasali ako, pero not the whole practice,” said the San Miguel deputy, who played for Pepsi, Mobiline, and Pop Cola from 1996 to 97 and suited up for 29 games and averaged 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds.
Martin, who made history when he scored the first ever basket in the inaugural season of the MBA (Metropolitan Basketball Association) while playing for Manila Metrostars, hopes Fajardo and the rest of the Beermen would be healthy all-season long as they bid to regain the Philippine Cup championship which they failed to defend in the Clark bubble last year owing to injury issues.
“Sana maka-stay health si June Mar and the rest of the team para magandang chances namin this season,” he said.