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San Miguel, Ginebra get two-week sabbatical.
The PBA will give the newly-crowned Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen and losing finalist Barangay Ginebra San Miguel time to recharge their batteries before they see action in the Commisioner’s Cup which starts on March 17.
San Miguel and Ginebra are expected to make their debuts at least two weeks after the start the midseason conference starts at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, based on the partial schedule released by the league last Wednesday where seven playdates were announced.
Giving the finalists of the previous conferences time off has been common practice, given that they endured long roads before they reach their eventual destinations.
San Miguel had to play 13 games in 29 days, including a seven-game semifinal duel with TNT KaTropa in a matter of two weeks, before capturing its third straight Philippine Cup title and the prestigious Jun Bernardino Perpetual Trophy.
Beermen coach Leo Austria, though, said that the break is not enough for his team to recuperate and prepare for their quest at a second straight crown with American import Charles Rhodes reinforcing the squad.
“I know the other teams are gearing up for the next conference. Nandiyan na ang conditioning nila and this team (SMB) may wear and tear na sila, so it’s hard to face them,” said Austria.
Ginebra, meanwhile, played 14 games during that same stretch, all having to come out of the rug as the seventh seed after the eliminations.
Ginebra overcame the twice-to-beat advantage of No. 2-ranked Alaska in the quarterfinals, then erased a 0-2 deficit against the Star Hotshots to win their semifinal series that went seven games.
But the Gin Kings ran out of steam against the talented Beermen, thus falling short of their quest at equaling their championship run in last season’s Governors’ Cup.
Justin Brownlee, who played a huge role in that successful title conquest, will suit up as Ginebra’s import for the conference.