San Miguel Beermen
San Miguel managed last year to advance to the quarterfinals in the All- Filipino Cup and Runner Up in the Reinforced Conference. In the All- Filipino cup, San Miguel got the best record along with Red Bull Thunder with 13-5 win loss card, but the wonderful journey somehow was cut as center and probably the workhorse in the middle, for the beermen, Dorian Peña was found positive of illegal drugs and was suspended indefinitely by the Commisioner. After Peña’s suspension, San Miguel struggled in the quarterfinals and suffers back to back losses and end up with a 1-2 win loss card. They didn’t qualify in the playoff.
Peña’s absence is still felt by the Beermen because they didn’t also qualify in the playoffs in the Invitational Cup with teams from China, Korea and Yugoslavia participated in the said Conference.
In the 3rd Conference, the Reinforced Conference, The Beermen’s first import was found positive with traces of illegal drug and was sent home immediately by the management. The beermen played their first game against the Barangay Ginebra Kings with an All Filipino line up and bowed to the Gin Kings with a score of 84-82. Then the Beermen tapped their 2002 Commisioners Cup import Shea Seals but his presence was not enough as the Beermen suffered a 4 game losing streak and had their worst start in a conference with a 0-5 win loss card. Then, the beermen tapped their 4th import in Kwan Johnson, the 1999 import of the Sta. Lucia Realtors (the 3rd import for the Beermen, was sent home immediately by the Beermen as he was lemon of an import). With the presence of Kwan Johnson, the Beermen raced to a 5 game winning streak, also in the middle of the conference, center Dorian Peña was reactivated from suspension. The Beermen ended the elimination round with 5-8 win loss card and was qualified for the playoffs
Their first assignment was Fedex Express but, they were too much for the Express as they swept the series 2-0. Their semifinals was Sta. Lucia but again, they were too much for the Realtors as again they swept the series 3-0, all 3 games was blow out. Their finals assignment was Coca Cola Tigers but they lost the series to the Tigers 3-4 as Kwan Johnson was injured and not a 100% in Games 3-7. Still they were able to kept composure and forced the Tigers to a game 7 but eventually they lost. It is still a good effort for the Beermen.
San Miguel got one of the best point guards in the league in the person of Dale Singson. Singson was acquired from Shell Turbochargers in a three way trade with Purefoods in exchange for their draft pick. Singson’s presence makes them even a stronger team. With Singson, Olsen Racela can take a longer rest. Singson also is a good post up player as he can make a mismatch with other guards in the low block and help their shooters like Dondon Hontiveros and Nick Belasco a good sight at the 3 point arc
San Miguel also signed Gilbert Malabanan from free agent market as a back up to small forward position.
Art Long also returns to the fold as an import for the Beermen. His height and heft will be a great presence for the Beermen in the middle as their other big men can have more time to rest.
C- Art Long
PF- Danny Ildefonso
SF- Nick Belasco
SG- Dondon Hontiveros
PG- Olsen Racela
Projected Bench Players:
C- Dorian Peña
PF- Brian Gahol
SF- Danny Seigle
SG- Joey Mente
PG- Dale Singson
C- Arnold Gamboa
PG- Boybits Victoria
Injured List Players
SF- Rysal Castro
PF- Marlon Legaspi
PG- Anton Villoria
Head Coach- Joseph Uichico
Assistant Coach- Art Dela Cruz
Assistant Coach- Bethune Tanquincen
Team Manager- Chito Loyzaga
San Miguel had just completed its line up last week as Coach Jong Uichico reactivated Danny Seigle from the injured list, Seigle will play only as a reliever player and will only have little minutes and will increase per game as to regain his full condition.
With the return of Danny Seigle, the acquisition of Dale Singson and the return of bull strong Art Long as an import; San Miguel will be very tough team to beat and a contender for the crown.
San Miguel will rely on Art Long, Dorian Peña, Danny Ildefonso and Nick Belasco as players to haul down rebounds, score from low post and block shots in the middle.
Guys like Danny Seigle, Brian Gahol and Joey Mente are wing players and are expected to be penetrate always and draw foul from opposing big men of their opponent.
Dondon Hontiveros and Boybits Victoria will be expected to be the outside threat of the Beermen as their 3 point shooting haunts other teams on how to stop it.
Olsen Racela and Dale Singson will be the play maker and ball handler of the team. Racela’s tactics and strategies as well as outside shooting kills the zone defense of the opponent and Singson’s low post play makes mismatch and allowing his other teammates to score easily.
The key for the beermen this conference is to stay within sight of the early leaders so they can have the chance to put together a solid run towards the end of the eliminations to position well in the playoffs.
With this championship caliber team, the San Miguel Beermen will be a tough contender in the playoffs and a strong candidate for the crown.
copyright 2004 by Joseph Lawrence Escanlar Cruz