SMB faces new-look NLEX as PBA resumes
Games Today (Cuneta Astrodome) 41:5 p.m. – San Miguel Beer vs NLEX 7 p.m. – Barangay Ginebra vs Rain or Shine
San Miguel Beer, coming off a 14-day break that coach Leo Austria said they didn’t get to use well, returns to PBA Commissioner’s Cup action against NLEX on Friday with the Beermen hoping to touch off another win- ning streak for a top two position in the first round of the playoffs.
Tip off is at 4:15 p.m. at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay with Austria ruing the fact that, because of the All-Star break and the Southeast Asian Basketball Association championship, he and his Beermen weren’t able to put together great practices with key players participating in those events.
“We will be coming off a long break but we weren’t complete in those practices,” Austria, who was making his way to the Smart Araneta Coliseum to watch Gilas Pilipinas clinch the Seaba title over Indonesia on Thursday, said.
“But we will be ready, as we have always been,” he said, even as he hinted that June Mar Fajardo, Gilas’ starting center, might suit up for the Beermen as they chase a twice-to-beat privilege accorded only to the top two finishers after the elimination round.
Austria is also a little wary of the Road Warriors, whom he described as a side “that has nothing to lose and ev- erything to gain” with an upset, as coach Yeng Guiao puts his new nucleus to the test.
Alex Mallari, JR Quinahan and Larry Fonacier, stars acquired from three teams via trades in the last two weeks, make their NLEX debuts.
The Road Warriors will be playing for nothing more than pride the rest of this round – and to get acquainted with each other – in preparation for the seasonending Governors’ Cup, where they can put heartaches of this tournament behind.