MANILA – San Miguel Beermen, now under the leadership of new coach Leo Austria, is still in need of two more players who will help them end their team’s three-year title drought in the upcoming season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“Bitoy Omolon has been signed up as our 13th man. We’re looking for two more, and we’re after guys who can really help and not just fill up our lineup,” Austria said.
He added, “We’re waiting for the players still playing in the NCAA. They might not be signed up (by the teams who picked them up in the PBA rookie draft). The Semerad twins, Prince Caperal and John Pinto – we’re interested in these guys.”
San Miguel Beer will start its rally in the 40th season of the PBA against Rain or Shine on October 21, 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Don Allado and rookie Dexter Maiquez are both trying to make it to San Miguel’s team.
“We’ve yet to make a decision on them,” said Austria who’s current roster includes MVP winners Junmar Fajardo and Arwind Santos and other key players in Sol Mercado, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Ronald Tubid, Rico Maierhofer and Doug Kramer.
Despite its intimidating roster, the Beermen has failed to win a title in the last three years under the helm of Olsen Racela, Rajko Toroman, Gie Abanilla and the pair of Biboy Ravanes and Todd Purves.
“We’re starting out playing a different system and we’re working on the chemistry not only of the players but the whole team from the coaching staff, to the players all the way down to the ball boys,” said Austria.
He added, “I want our team on the same page together. The good thing is that the players have accepted and believe in what I’m trying to instill on the team.”
Austria believes that Purves agrees with his strategy. Under his guidance, the team will play a methodical half-court to maximize the strength of their key players such as Fajardo, Santos, Lassiter, Lutz, and Tubid.
“We’ll really exploit the advantage of Junmar at the post and use the shooting skills of Marcio, Lutz and Tubid,” said Austria. “It’s not easy but we’re determined to work on that.”
Austria said that the team will be a strong contender in the upcoming season.
“We’re a middle-of-the-pack team. Hopefully, we improve as the season progresses,” said Austria, pointing to San Mig Coffee, Rain or Shine, Talk n Text, Barangay Ginebra and Alaska as their top rivals.
Last season, San Miguel landed fourth in the Philippine Cup and fifth in both the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors Cup.