Mindanao Times

PBA: After costly loss to Columbian, SMB shifts focus to 8th seed


MANILA, Philippine­s -- San Miguel finds itself in an unfamiliar position in the 2019 PBA Commission­er's Cup, as the perennial championsh­ip contenders are on the outside looking in the playoff picture midway through the eliminatio­n round.

A heartbreak­ing 134-132 overtime loss to Columbian Dyip on Sunday evening put the Beermen's record at 2-5, good for just ninth place in the league. As it stands, they do not control their playoff hopes with just four games to go in their schedule.

Yet, SMB captain Arwind Santos still found some humor in the situation.

"Oh, 2-5," he said after their loss. "Paskong-pasko."

Santos acknowledg­ed that their team was down after the defeat, especially as they thought the victory was in their grasp. He had nailed a triple with 1.5 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime, but the Beermen couldn't make enough stops in the extra period.

"Pero wala, talagang maganda rin ang laro ng KIA (Columbian). Pero ano, masasabi ko doon, talagang 'yung laro namin, hindi pa talaga ganoon ka-100% eh. Ang sama ng depensa namin, ang taas ng score. Hindi 'yun 'yung San Miguel talaga," said Santos.

The veteran forward admits that catching up for a playoff spot will be difficult, which is why the Beermen are setting their goals a little lower this time around.

Initially, they had hoped to make it to the Top 6, and thus figure in a best-of-3 series in the playoffs. After Sunday's loss, however, the Beermen know they have to shift their

focus, said Santos.

"Kahit ano lang, mapunta lang kami sa Top 8, 'yung 8 na lang, 'yung 8 position na lang," he said. "Kasi minsan, na-experience ko rin naman mangarap ng mataas eh."

"Ngayon, pangarapin muna namin 'yung Top 8 lang tapos lalabanan namin 'yung No. 1, twice-to-beat. Tapos tatalunin namin, parang ganoon na lang siguro," he explained.

"Doon muna kami magstart. Huwag muna kami maghangad ng malaki, doon muna kami sa maliit."

If they make it as the 8th seed, they are confident that they can pull off an upset of the top-seed, said Santos. TNT and NorthPort currently share the top spot, with 7-1 and 7-2 records, respective­ly.

"May kakayahan naman

kaming talunin ang No. 1. Pero alam namin na hindi 'yun ganoon kadali," said Santos. "Kaya sinabi ko, doon muna kami, mangarap muna kami ng mababa."

"Para bigla, baka bigla magulat na lang kami, 'yung pangarap namin mababa lang, magulat kami, sa ganda ng pinapakita namin, bigla 'yung mababa nalampasan pa, so much better," he added.

The loss was SMB's second straight. They will try to return to their winning ways on Friday against NLEX. ABS-CBN News

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