San Miguel Beer left Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday with a breakthrough win in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup and a pressing concern of addressing its need to have more healthy bodies.
The 93-83 triumph that ended the Meralco Bolts’ two-game unbeaten start came after missing four players still dealing with injuries and two prominent names in Terrence Romeo and rookie Kyt Jimenez getting hurt in the game.
“I hope two of them can play in Quezon and we’ll see about Terrence now,” Beermen coach Jorge Gallent said.
Gallent and the Beermen will travel to the Quezon town of Tiaong on Saturday to face the winless Converge FiberXers, with the hope that Jericho Cruz and Jeron Teng can be cleared from their hamstring issues.
Cruz missed the first two games while Teng saw action during the shock 117-113 overtime loss to the NLEX Road Warriors a few days earlier in Antipolo City.
Marcio Lassiter is still on the recovery trail from a sprained ankle while Vic Manuel underwent surgery on his knee and is out for at least two months.
Romeo, meanwhile, had to sit out the rest of the second half after feeling some soreness on his knee, a recurring injury that he also felt against NLEX. He had nine points in 10 minutes before his afternoon was done.
“The main goal is for the swelling to subside because it compensates the other muscles,” Romeo described in Filipino. “When I try to force it, I would aggravate my injury.
“Hopefully I can play as quickly as possible, but I want to make sure that I’m at a hundred percent because I always play all-out, I always want to be explosive when I go on the court,” he added.
Jimenez finally made his PBA debut, amid cheers from the audience that validates his popularity gained from his days as an online sensation. But the 76th pick in the September draft left in the fourth when his right eye was elbowed by Cliff Hodge while attacking the basket.
Import Ivan Aska produced 27 points and 13 rebounds to emerge as one of the reasons for the Beermen’s bounce-back win.
June Mar Fajardo had 17 points and 15 rebounds while Chris Ross knocked in 10, including five in a row that killed the Bolts’ comeback chances after the Beermen lead was reduced to four, 85-81, approaching the final two minutes.
Import Su Braimoh, who didn’t play in Japan due to visa issues, tapered off after a sizzling start to his PBA stint and was held to 15 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals. INQ