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PBA: SMB to start buildup this week


by Waylon Galvez

With June Mar Fajardo at the helm, San Miguel Beer gets a shot at winning the perpetual trophy of the PBA Philippine Cup. (MB file | Manila Bulletin)

With June Mar Fajardo at the helm, San Miguel Beer gets a shot at winning the perpetual trophy of the PBA Philippine Cup. (MB file | Manila Bulletin)

The San Miguel Beermen are expected to begin their preparation for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday after the team was given time off as a reward for winning the Philippine Cup title more than a week ago.

Beermen coach Leo Austria made the confirmation over the weekend, but said not all will be present for the start of their Commissioner’s Cup buildup for various reasons.

“Balik na kami sa Friday, training na kami uli for the Commissioner’s Cup,” said Austria. “Pero hindi pa rin naman lahat makaka-balik na pero yung iba umpisa na.”

“May mga iba na nasa abroad, dun nag-bakasyon. May iba dito lang naman nagsiuwian sa probinsya,” added Austria, who will have his own vacation with his family this week.

One case is reigning three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, who is resting in his hometown of Pinamungajan, Cebu after the Beermen defeated Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 4-1, for their third straight title in the all-Filipino tourney.

Fajardo actually had to fly back to Manila to join the team’s victory celebration at the San Miguel Corporation office, before returning to Cebu with his family.

The Bulletin also learned that Chris Ross, the CIGNAL TV-PBA Press Corps Finals MVP, ace shooter Marcio Lassiter and veteran guard Alex Cabagnot are on vacation in the US.

San Miguel became the second team to own the Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy for winning three straight Philippine Cup titles, joining the 2011-2013 Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters.

Talks of a grand slam have surfaced after that triumph, but Austria said the main goal is to win the midseason conference.

“Ang sabi ko nga, sa nakaraang dalawang Philippine Cup, lalo na nung una, pinag-isipan namin na ganun e… na grand slam ang tinignan namin agad. Pero hindi namin nagawa kasi na-out pa kami,” he said.

“Kaya after ng experience namin sa huling dalawang season, na nanalo kami ng Philippine Cup pero hindi namin nakuha yung Commissioner’s Cup, hindi na namin ini-isip yung ganun (grand slam).”

“Ang focus namin ngayon is dito muna sa Commissioner’s Cup, one game at a time, one conference at a time kumbaga. Ito ang pagha-handaan namin sa pagbalik namin sa ensayo,” added Austria.

SMB will have as import Charles Rhodes, a 6-foot-9 forward/center formerly of Mississippi State University who has played with several teams the last eight years in the Korean Basketball League (KBL).

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