By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
STRUGGLING-of-late San Miguel Beermen look to put a stop to their funk when they return to Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup action today against the Blackwater Elite.
Losers of their last two matches, the Beermen (5-3) are out to swing back to winning and pad their playoff push in their scheduled 4:30 p.m. match against the Elite (2-7) at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
The latest of the defeats of San Miguel came at the hands of the Meralco Bolts, 125-99, on Oct. 27 in a game that saw the Beermen outplayed right from the get-go.
Reigning league most valuable player Junmar Fajardo had a monster double-double game of 31 points and 13 rebounds but it was not enough to tow his team over the Bolts.
Explosive import Dez Wells were rendered limited by Meralco, with the San Miguel reinforcement just managing to post 18 points, three rebounds and two assists.
The dip in their play has San Miguel coach Leo Austria concerned and something they hope to address lest they find their PBA Grand Slam hopes dashed unceremoniously.
“The team has been lacking of late. We’re so complacent because of our good start (4-1) and they thought it’s easy to win. I told them we should not dwell on the last two championships because a lot of teams right now are playing well and they have very good imports,” said Mr. Austria following their loss to Meralco.
“We have to continue competing, because the problem in our last games, we are just playing, we are not competing,” added the coach, whose wards put themselves in a position for a shot at a rare league Grand Slam by topping the Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup previously.
San Miguel won a PBA Grand Slam in 1989.
Out to add to the misery of the Beermen, meanwhile, are the new-look Elite, who are to play for the first time sans prize rookie Ray Parks Jr. whom the team dealt to the TNT KaTropa last week for Don Trollano, Anthony Semerad and two future first-round picks.
Blackwater has lost four straight and is on the verge of missing out on the playoffs.
Also playing today are the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (4-4) against the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters (2-6) at 7 p.m.
Magnolia is set to welcome to its fold Chris Banchero whom it acquired from the Alaska Aces last week for role players Robbie Herndon and Rodney Brondial.
Phoenix, for its part, has lost back-to-back games.