San Miguel, TNT, Ginebra have target on their backs for PBA Philippine Cup

ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 13, 2017 05:56 PM
SMB, TNT, Ginebra have target on their backs for PBA PH Cup
Three of the PBA's four most recent champions are yet again seen as the top teams

Three-time champion San Miguel is the unanimous team-to-beat as the PBA gears up for its season-opening Philippine Cup.

The Beermen were the only ones mentioned by all of the team governors who were asked about the top team in the tournament.

“I think it’s still gonna be San Miguel because of its intact lineup,” Meralco alternate governor Ryan Gregorio told reporters in the league’s preseason press conference on Wednesday at the Okada in Paranaque.

Indeed, the three-time champions will be parading the same core of four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Arwind Santos. That’s not even counting 2017 PBA Draft top pick Christian Standhardinger who is still fulfilling contractual obligations in the Asean Basketball league.

Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann, Blackwater’s Dioceldo Sy, Ginebra’s Alfrancis Chua, Magnolia’s Rene Pardo, NLEX’s Ramoncito Fernandez, Rain or Shine’s Mert Mondragon, TNT’s Magnum Membrere, and even San Miguel’s own Robert Non could only agree with Gregorio.

Chua and Pardo, however, explained that the Beermen will not be able to truly take their place as the top team in the tournament as they are yet to have Standhardinger. “SMB, hindi pa malakas yan, wala pa si Standhardinger. Sa second conference pa,” the former said.

With that opening for contention, team governors also named Ginebra and TNT as teams to watch.

“If you know your basketball, Ginebra ang pipiliin ko,” Pardo said, talking about the Gin Kings of multi-titled mentor Tim Cone, Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson.

“Yung TNT, intact yung lineup tapos they also have bigs who can match-up with June Mar,” Non said of the KaTropa mentored by Nash Racela and fronted by Jayson Castro, RR Pogoy, and Kelly Williams.

Meanwhile, Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle’s Globalport as well as Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena’s NLEX are seen as darkhorses in the tournament.

The 43rd Season of Asia’s first pay-for-play league commences on December 17 at the Araneta Coliseum.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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