SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – Injury had taken its toll again on defending champion San Miguel.
The Beermen were without top guard Alex Cabagnot to start the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs Friday due to a strained hamstring.
Cabagnot showed up at the Angeles University Foundation gym in street clothes and watched as the team lost to the Meralco Bolts, 71-78, leaving the tineam to a do-or-die game on Sunday for a berth in the semifinals.
The veteran 37-year-old guard is averaging 13.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in the eliminations. He remains day-to-day for the reigning champions.
Coach Leo Austria admitted Cabagnot didn’t practice with the Beermen on the eve of the quarterfinals, further compounding the health issue of the five-time champions that already lost six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo to injury during the pre-season and Terrence Romeo while inside the bubble owing to a dislocated shoulder.
Also playing hurt are veterans Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter.
“My concern is the condition of the players. We’re not healthy,” said Austria. “So we want to manage their condition.”
The fourth seeded Beermen though, hold a twice-to-beat edge against the No. 5 seeded Bolts.