Injury-plagued San Miguel Beer starts Governors' Cup title defense vs Phoenix
AZ Reid will banner a depleted San Migue Beer's title defense in the PBA Governors Cup as the team opens its campaign against Phoenix. Jaime Campos

AN injury-plagued San Miguel Beer seeks to make do with a still-formidable lineup as it starts its PBA Governors’ Cup title defense against Phoenix on Sunday afternoon at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen are missing Arwind Santos and Gabby Espinas who are both recovering from respective surgeries on their knees, while Chris Lutz and Yancy de Ocampo are also sidelined due to back problems.

But the league’s most dominant team over the last two years still has a fearsome cast bannered by import AZ Reid, reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, sniper Marcio Lassiter, and playmakers Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot.

“We’re professionals, so you got to be ready anytime,” Reid said. “Other guys are getting opportunities and this is their chance to show what they can do.”

Jay-R Reyes is also expected to see more playing time with the absence of Espinas and De Ocampo, while veteran wingmen Ronald Tubid, Ryan Arana, and Gary David could, likewise, shoulder more of the load.

That makes the Beermen still favored over the re-jigged Fuel Masters in their 4 p.m. matchup that’s followed by the main game between Alaska and Meralco.

The Fuel Masters got their campaign off on the wrong foot, surrendering a 108-103 decision to Meralco last Friday, but behind import Marcus Simmons, the Davao-based franchise hopes to finally gift coach Ariel Vanguardia a victory in his second game at the helm.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos