SAN Miguel Beer opens its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign against Mahindra Saturday, hoping to atone for an “embarrassing” stint in the mid-season tourney last season.
But the Enforcers have much more frustrations to make up for and another upset win over the recently-crowned Philippine Cup champions should help.
That’s why fireworks are expected in the Petron-sponsored matchup at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna. Game time is at 3 p.m.
For coach Leo Austria, it’s simply a matter of his Beermen shaking away their euphoric feelings following their Philippine Cup success, regaining their focus and setting their sights on the only title that escaped their clutches in a bad way last season.
“Kailangan talagang makabawi dahil talagang embarrassing ang nangyari dito sa amin last season,” said Austria, referring to his team’s ninth place finish after also winning the season-opener.
“Mantakin mo, from champion to out of the playoffs,” added Austria. “Kaya naman we really want to win this conference and getting off to a good start is a must for us.”
Mahindra, then carrying the brand name Kia, played a part in that SMB downfall by eking out an 88-78 surprise. But the boost from that man-sized upset could not be sustained and the Enforcers would go on to wind up 11th.
After again failing to make it past the eliminations for the fourth straight time in the last Philippine Cup Mahindra looked ready to make a deep run with a 111-98 surprise over GlobalPort in their first assignment before the Enforcers again got yanked back to earth with a 102-110 loss to Blackwater on Valentine’s Day.