A new PBA season, a new mission for San Migue Coffee.
Team governor Rene Pardo told Spin.ph the franchise is bent on retaining the season-opening Philippine Cup as the Mixers gun for their fifth straight championship in an attempt to move closer to the record six consecutive titles won by the legendary Crispa Redmanizers spanning the 1976 and 77 seasons.
“Yun ang target namin. We will not rest on the laurels of winning a four-peat and a Grand Slam … meron kaming hinahabol ngayon. At ito `yung makalimang championship nitong All Filipino,” said Pardo, ever optimistic about the team’s chances when the league opens its 40th season on October 19.
The eloquent San Mig official disclosed the Mixers have maintained their solid roster, comprising of the same players they paraded last season when they completed a historic sweep of all three conferences for the league’s first Grand Slam since 1996.
“Walang nabawas sa team namin. Kumpleto kami ng lineup. It’s the (majority) same players who won the All Filipino the past season… I think we have a fairly good chance,” Pardo added.
Compared to other teams that either added new players from the last rookie draft or lost key personnel after the dispersal pool, San Mig kept its core intact even to the extent of retaining the services of workhorse forward Ronnie Matias.
The Mixers actually just lost two players in JR Cawaling and longtime reserve Ken Bono. Cawaling is now with expansion franchise Blackwater while Bono has decided to try his luck with other teams.
“Hindi na namin talaga masyadong ginalaw kasi we focused on improving further our team’s chemistry,” said Pardo, who nonetheless, expects tougher competition this season as most of the teams beefed up their respective rosters during the offseason, not to mention the arrival of two expansion franchises.
“Nagpalakas ang ibang teams, pumasok ang Kia at Blackwater, tapos `yung NLEX andito na rin (sa PBA). So tatlong bagong kalaban 'yun. But we will give them a run for their money,” Pardo said.
Pardo believes keeping a solid roster will make the Mixers more cohesive as they try to remain dominant in the years to come.
San Mig even went to the point of trading away the No. 7 pick in the last draft for the 2016 first round pick of GlobalPort.
“Binigay ko nung draft yun (seventh pick) para sa future pick ng GlobalPort. We want to keep this roster intact. We don’t want to rock the boat and bring in new people,” he said. “Nanalo naman kami.”
The longtime franchise team executive also disclosed team manager Alvin Patrimonio has already finalized last Wednesday the renewal of all players with expired contracts, including Mark Barroca, Jerwin Gaco, Rafi Reavis, and Joe Devance.
“OK na lahat 'yun. Napapirma na namin ulit. We all renewed the remaining remnants of our expirees,” he said.
Pardo also revealed his interest in the great grandson of Andres Bonifacio, Franklin, who has been trying out with the team.
“I like the kid. He is very impressive in practice. I have to discuss this with coach Tim (Cone), he’s still in the US. He will return on Sunday,” said Pardo of the San Mig Coffee coach, who accompanied his son Kevin during his enrollment in the US.
Meanwhile, San Mig will square off with the visiting LG Sakers team at the Ronac Gym this coming Tuesday afternoon.