AFTER strengthening its core, San Miguel now focuses on fortifying its support group.
And foremost on the team’s agenda is keeping youngsters Von Pessumal and Louie Vigil, who were both given fresh two-year deals and are expected to play a key role off the bench as the Beermen enter the PBA 44th season with heightened expectations.
Already loaded with the original ‘Fab Five’ of June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross, along with sophomore big man Christian Standhardinger and the enigmatic Kelly Nabong, San Miguel got even dangerous after trading for three-time scoring champion Terrence Romeo, Paul Zamar, and returnee Ronald Tubid.
But as deep as the Beermen are, they still have places for Pessumal and Vigil along with mainstay Matt Ganuelas Rosser, who give the team some youth and zest off the bench.
Vigil was the team's second-round pick in the 2017 draft (17th overall), while Pessumal came over following a one-on-one trade with NorthPort in exchange for seldom-used big man Arnold Van Opstal.
Still negotiating for new contracts are veterans Yancy de Ocampo, Billy Mamaril, and Chico Lanete.
The Beermen will be gunning for a record fifth straight Philippine Cup title when Asia’s first-ever pro league opens its 44th season at the Philippine Arena on January 13.
They retained the All-Filipino crown last year after defeating the Magnolia Hotshots in the finals, 4-1.