SAN Miguel Beer unveils a new system that seeks to sustain its old winning ways as it starts its PBA Philippine Cup title defense on Sunday night against Phoenix at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Gunning for an unprecedented fourth straight all-Filipino championship, the Beermen have instilled a new offense that veers away from having June Mar Fajardo as the focal point and instead maximizes the rest of their powerhouse core on the court.
“What we got going right now, there’s not really a name for it,” SMB star Chris Ross told SPIN.ph. “It’s just ball movement and player movement. It’s good for us because we got a lot of threats on the floor and it makes everyone that much more of a threat."
“We got a lot of cuts, back screens, handoffs, so it’s kind of like the new-age basketball that a lot of teams are doing in the NBA. I like it,” he added. “It’s kind of an equal-opportunity thing. There’s not really a set play for one guy, so every option, all five guys can have an opportunity to score.”
The Beermen have been trying out their new system since they opened training camp, with Ross and Alex Cabagnot running the offense and Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, and Fajardo getting relatively the same amount of touches.
“It keep the defense on its toes a little more, and it should be good for us, because a lot of times, we do get stagnant and we either do a pick-and-roll or go down to June Mar, so it’s going to open up a lot of things,” Ross said.
The Beermen get to test it out against the Fuel Masters at 6:15 p.m. in the season-opener preceded by a simple ceremony.
The Beermen have beefed up their roster with the addition of two veterans in Billy Mamaril and Chico Lanete as well as rookie wingman Louie Vigil – completing a 15-man roster that’s still formidable despite the absence of prized rookie Christian Standhardinger, who won’t be making his debut until the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Even though we’re without our first pick, we still have our core,” Ross said. “We’re getting better, the reserve guys are getting better, they know that if they perform in practice now, they’ll get the opportunity to play a little bit more and try to rest us a little bit more."
“We’re excited about that. We’re excited for the challenge ahead,” he added.