Rest, not Magnolia or NLEX, on the minds of San Miguel

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 17, 2018 09:54 PM
Rest, not Magnolia or NLEX, on the minds of San Miguel
After averaging more than 36 minutes per game, Arwind Santos and San Miguel's key cogs will have much-needed time to rest

San Miguel Beer is in the championship round of the All-Filipino conference for the fourth time in a row.

Already full of confidence from being three-time defending champions and having a four-time MVP in June Mar Fajardo as well as a talented and cohesive core, they will have a week, at the very least, to prepare for their opponents.

That’s because in the opposite bracket, Magnolia and NLEX are all even at two wins apiece in the race-to-four series.

Asked about their possible foes, San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria said, “I’m happy to see both NLEX and Magnolia playing (well), talagang parehas sila halos. You can never know who will be in the Finals.”

Austria, though, would rather not name their preferred matchup for the Finals. As he put it, “’Di ko masasabi kasi mahirap mamili dahil deserving sila (pareho) to be in the Finals. Wala kang tulag-kabigin sa kanila.”

For the always amiable mentor, the Beermen want nothing more than to just get their wind back. “We don’t want to think about their games. We will think about our preparations and first, we have to take a rest,” he shared.

He then continued, “Alam ko ang wear-and-tear nitong mga players ko dahil my starters (have been) playing at least 38 minutes per game. I think they deserve to have a rest.”

Indeed, in Game 5 alone, Alex Cabanot and Marcio Lassiter each played 41 minutes, June Mar Fajardo played 40 minutes, and Arwind Santos played 39 minutes.

In taking care of Ginebra in just five games, the defending champions have bought for themselves a much-needed and more than welcome breather. “Ang maganda lang talaga sa amin is we have the luxury to prepare because we are the first one into the Finals,” Austria said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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