Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer hopes to use its failure to reach the playoff stage in the Commissioner’s Cup as motivation to do well in the Governors’ Cup.
Former two-time Best Import winner AZ Reid, who will continue to reinforce the team next conference, said the setback only “adds fuel to the fire” in his bid to win a title in the pro league.
“This conference is over, I’m not gonna dwell on it. It is what it is… we lost,” said Reid.
“I didn’t play the whole conference, I’m not tired. I’m a little angry that we didn’t make it to the playoffs. I’m not cocky, but I guarantee we’re not gonna start 0-4 next conference, I guarantee that ‘coz I’m gonna bust my tail to work hard, and my teammates to work hard,” added Reid.
San Miguel started the conference 0-4 with Ronald Roberts Jr. as import, a late signee after the team’s first option Arinze Onuaku – a NBA D-League veteran – opted to stay in the US hoping for a call up in the NBA.
Aside from that, the team also had a short period of time to prepare for the Commissioner’s Cup following its triumphant campaign in the Philippine Cup where it downed Alaska with a thrilling Game 7 victory.
“Alam naman namin kung saan kami nagkulang, so sa preparasyon namin para sa susunod na conference talagang paghahandaan namin ng mabuti. Pagbalik namin, start strong kami dapat,” said Arwind Santos.
SMB’s 6-foot-10 center June Mar Fajardo, the MVP last season, said they have to double their effort preparing for the Governors’ Cup.
“The word is sacrifice. Mahaba man o maikli ang break, kailangan pa din mag-trabaho. Nasa sa amin naman yan, Hindi na kailangan na i-motivate pa kami ng iba, trabaho na namin,” said Fajardo.
The 6-5 Reid was tabbed to replace Roberts and helped the team win four of the next seven games. The last one was a 106-94 victory over Globalport Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
However, SMB failed to get the needed winning margin of 32 points opposite the Batang Pier to get to the playoffs as it finished tied with Globalport and Kia all with similar 4-7 cards with an inferior quotient.
Globalport still has a chance to advance to the quarterfinals only if Alaska (4-6) losses against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (5-5) Wednesday night at the Big Dome, but a win by the Aces will clinch for them the last playoff spot.
Already in the playoffs are Rain or Shine and Talk ’N Text, which both carry the twice-to-beat advantage, defending champion Purefoods, Meralco, NLEX, Ginebra and Barako Bull.
This marked the first time in six years that a reigning Philippine Cup champion failed to advance in the playoffs the following conference, or since TNT was ousted in the playoffs after the elimination round of the 2009 Fiesta Cup.
San Miguel will continue to have practice sessions today until Saturday, and then will take a break starting Sunday. The Beermen will resume their preparation for the Governors’ Cup on April. 6.