For first time since 'Beeracle,' we have a SMB-Alaska series
History was made the last time San Miguel met Alaska in a playoff series (FILE PHOTO)
The last time San Miguel and Alaska met in a playoff series, a “beeracle” happened.
Alaska was one win away from a championship in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup before June Mar Fajardo returned from injury and rallied San Miguel to what was ultimately a 4-3 series win.
Yes, the Beermen came back from 0-3 in a race-to-four series – you know, that abysmal hole that only a handful teams, in history, have climbed out of.
Two years after, the two teams have yet to meet again in a playoff series.
That is, until now in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup where it will be San Miguel versus Alaska in a best-of-five semifinals.
For head coach Leo Austria, the rekindling of the rivalry is nothing but welcome. “Magkikita kami ulit ngayon, ano. Sana maging maganda pa rin,” he told reporters after he and his boys formalized that semis matchup on Wednesday.
Still, the Beermen know that the “beeracle” has long been history and they will need to dig deep once more to topple the second-seeded Aces. As Arwind Santos put it, “Nabanggit nga ni coach na, kung ilalagay ko ang posisyon ko sa Alaska, maalala’t maaalala ko yun at gugustuhin kong gumanti.”
He then continued, “Kahit wala si Calvin, napakaganda ng nilalaro ng Alaska. What more kung nandyan pa si Calvin? Baka mas madagdagan pa yung run nila.”
And that goes with or without Abueva, still out due to team-sanctioned suspension, wearing red and white. “’Di naman tayo magiging ipokrito kasi ayaw namin na makalaro siya kasi malaking bagay si Calvin, pero hindi namin tinitignan yun. Respeto lang sa kahit sino yung makakalaban namin,” Santos said.
He then continued, “Hindi namin minamaliit kahit kulang sila. Andyan si (American reinforcement) Diamon Simpson, andyan si (Best Player of the Conference frontrunner) Vic Manuel. Yun ang dapat tignan namin, hindi yung wala sa kanila.”
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