By Jonas Terrado
Key members of the great San Miguel teams of the past believe they have what it takes to beat the current Beermen squad if ever a fantasy matchup becomes a reality.
Their conquest of the PBA Philippine Cup earlier this month have placed the June Mar Fajardo-led Beermen in discussion among some of the most successful teams in PBA history, prompting some to wonder if they can stand tall against their predecessors.
When asked recently if a dream match that would need a Delorean time machine and jar of plutonium fulfill, those from 1989 Grand Slam and late-90s to early-2000s teams didn’t mince words.
“You mean, can they give us a run for their money? You should reverse that question,” Meralco coach Norman Black told the Bulletin TEMPO, supremely confident that the 1989 Beermen team he handled will come out as victors.
Black guided San Miguel to the PBA’s third triple crown with a lineup powered by Ramon Fernandez, Samboy Lim, Hector Calma, Yves Dignadice, Elmer Reyes, Franz Pumaren, Alvin Teng and Ricardo Brown, who only played in the third conference after recovering from a heart ailment.
Current Barangay Ginebra San Miguel assistant Olsen Racela, the chief playmaker of the Jong Uichico-coached San Miguel teams that won five titles between 1999 to 2001, offered the same sentiment.
“Siyempre bias ako, dito pa din ako sa grupo ko,” said Racela, who held the fort for those Beermen squad that also had Danny Ildefonso, Danny Seigle, Freddie Abuda, Nic Belasco, Boybits Victoria, Dwight Lago and Dorian Pena, among others.
Both Black and Racela see their deep lineups as key to stopping this generation’s San Miguel team led by its crack starting five of Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter, with rookie Christian Standhardinger set to make his debut in the Commissioner’s Cup.
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