PBA great Ramon Fernandez felt his former ballclub San Miguel should've won at least two grand slams by now based on its lineup over the past few seasons.
Appearing in the second episode of the Zoom In livecast by SPIN.ph on Thursday, the four-time league MVP said the lineup the Beermen put together around June Mar Fajardo was capable of winning multiple grand slams.
“Star-studded ‘yun. Tingin ko, two years ago, three years ago, naka-dalawa o tatlong grand slam na sana ang San Miguel sa team na ‘yan eh,” Fernandez said. “Tingin ko, wala dapat tatalo diyan pero I don’t know kung ano ang nangyari."
The Fajardo-era Beermen are the most successful team in the league over the past six seasons, winning eight championships under Leo Austria since 2014 including a historic five straight all-Filipino titles from 2015 to 2019.
Fajardo also won six successive MVP awards - breaking the record four that Fernandez shared with Alvin Patrimonio - as the cornerstone of a powerhouse team that included Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Terrence Romeo, and Chris Ross.
A grand slam, however, proved elusive for the present-day Beermen, who won the first two conferences of the 2016-17 and 2019 seasons only to fall short of a season sweep each time.
Fernandez, now a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), was a part of the SMB team that completed a grand slam in 1989, joining Crispa (1976 and 1983), Alaska (1996), and San Mig Coffee (2014) in that exclusive club.
Asked if this SMB team underachieved, Fernandez said: “Sa tingin ko, personally, that’s my personal opinion. I haven’t watched them play kung ano cause nung pagkatalo nila but based on their lineup and compared to the lineups of other teams, ‘yun na nga ang nangyari. Dapat tatlong grand slam man lang.”
After stints with Toyota, Beer Hausen/ Manila Beer, Tanduay, and Purefoods, Fernandez spent the latter part of his career with San Miguel starting the grand slam year in 1989. He retired in 1994 to cap a legendary career that included 19 championships in all.
Fernandez described the 1989 grand slam team as the strongest Beermen squad that he was a part off.
“’Yun ang pinakamalakas na nasalihan ko. Pinakakumpleto,” said Fernandez, who had teammates such as Hector Calma, Elmer Reyes, Ricardo Brown, Ato Agustin, Samboy Lim, and Alvin Teng in that SMB side.