SAN Miguel begins its quest for a sixth PBA Philippine Cup crown when the Beermen clash with the Magnolia Hotshots in the 2020 season opener at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The match is set at 7:30 p.m. following the Leo Awards and the opening ceremony for the 45th season of the league.
All eyes will be on the Beermen in the season-opening conference as they look to defend the Philippine Cup title without June Mar Fajardo, who suffered a complete fracture in his right tibia during their build-up for the season. Fajardo is expected to miss the entire season.
Even with Fajardo out, San Miguel is still seen as a title contender in the Philippine Cup. The core from its five championships in the all-Filipino conference in Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross and Arwind Santos are still around along with 2019 Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP Terrence Romeo.
Fajardo’s back-up Mo Tautuaa is also eager to prove he can help provide stability in the paint.
“Unlike before, alam nila pupunta lagi kay June Mar. Ngayon, there’s so many weapons. But I told them na you have to run according to our system,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
With Fajardo injured, the Beermen face stiff competition and among the top rivals is Magnolia, which finished runner-up ro San Miguel two straight times.
The Hotshots quietly build their team while making a few changes along the way with the acquisition of energy guy Jackson Corpuz from Columbian in a trade.
Magnolia will also be leaning on its old reliables such as Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, and Mark Barroca.