SAN Miguel Beer begins its quest for redemption as it kicks off its PBA Governors Cup campaign against Alaska in Sunday’s main game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen go into the 5:15 p.m. game still smarting from a playoff debacle in the last Commissioner’s Cup which saw them lose twice to seventh seed Air21 Express in the quarterfinals.
San Miguel entered the playoffs as the second seeded team and enjoyed a twice-to-bead edge.
But team active consultant Todd Purves said the team has since put behind that sad episode in its campaign and instead, focused on improving their execution on both offense and defense with NBA veteran Reggie Williams in tow as the Beermen’s import.
“Our preparation just continues. There’s nothing else we can do but continue to work hard. There’s no sense dwelling on the past mistakes, but we have to correct those and get better,” Purves said.
Williams, a left-handed gunner who played five seasons in the NBA, provides an added outside scoring threat, which Purves said could complement the team’s big frontline of June Mar Fajardo, Doug Kramer, Arwind Santos and newly-acquired rookie Justin Chua.
“Reggie gives us another element. He can spread the floor and we hope it could open things up for our inside players like June Mar, Arwind, and Doug,” explained Purves, the former coach of Indonesia Warriors who steered the team to the 2012 Asean Basketball League (ABL) championship.
The 27-year-old Williams played for the Golden State Warriors, the Charlotte Bobcats and, later, with the Oklahoma City Thunder in a five-year NBA stint.
On the other hand, Alaska coach Luigi Trilllo said San Miguel has always been a tough match for the team considering the size and numerous outside shooters the Beermen have.
“San Miguel is always a hard team to face. Just take a look at the last conference, they are no. 1 in assists and hustle points,” said Trillo.
The Aces will be reinforced by former NBA veteran Bill Walker, a stocky forward out of Kansas State, who is expected to add an inside-outside presence for the team in the season-ending conference.
“He’s (Walker) very skilled, but now, it’s how we fit him in whether at the three (small forward) or four (power forward),” Trillo said of Walker, who was slapped with a P20,000 fine for engaging Meralco forward Danny Ildefonso in a scuffle last Tuesday during a tune-up match.
While Walker is coming in with an impressive NBA credential that saw him average a career-high 11.9 points on 43.1 percent shooting from the three-point distance during the 2009-10 season with New York, Trillo said he expects the locals to provide the support for the Aces to get back into championship contention.
“Our offense allows everybody to get involved. As much as he’s (Walker) good at three-point shots, I like to see him take a bigger role defensively,” explained the Alaska mentor.
“Now, it’s also gonna be the responsibility of our local crews to help him out because the more they help him out, the better everybody grows,” he added.