TAKE two for San Miguel Beer, which seeks to accomplish what it failed to do in its first game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when it takes on GlobalPort on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Expected to have regained their focus following a historic Philippine Cup conquest, the Beermen instead crashed back to earth with a loss to giant-killing Mahindra in their debut in the midseason tournament last Saturday in Biñan, Laguna.
SMB, which lost its first four games in the last Commissioner’s Cup, tries to avoid falling into an early losing streak anew as they face the Batang Pier at 7 p.m.
“I thought we’ve learned our lesson, pero ganun pa rin,” SMB coach Leo Austria said after the loss to the Enforcers. “We were not in shape.”
The Beermne are expected to be in better shape with June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos continuing to recover after a grueling finals series against Alaska. Both stalwarts will lead the frontline along with import Tyler Wilkerson, who had 29 points and 12 boards in his maiden showing.
Alex Cabagnot is also expected to be back after missing the opener as the SMB star playmaker attended the funeral of his grandmother.
“Alex is a very important piece sa amin,” Austria said of Cabagnot, who partners with Finals MVP Chris Ross at the backcourt that will have its hands full against a Batang Pier counterpart featuring Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.
Romeo scattered 33 points, four boards, and three assists in their 108-101 win over Tropang TNT last Friday where the Batang Pier fielded new import Calvin Warner.
Mahindra and NLEX, toting similar 2-1 win-loss cards, seek to follow up their respective wins in Laguna as they face off in the curtain-raiser at 4:15 p.m.