Strong start key to SMB title sweep vs Indonesia

- Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - June 22, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - San Miguel Beer coach Bobby Parks hopes his wards won’t get caught up in another lethargic start as the Beermen seek to finish off the Indonesia Warriors in the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League title series tomorrow at Mahaka Square in Jakarta.

The Beermen fell into a scoreless spell that allowed the Warriors to seize a 14-point lead in the first half of Game 1 before turning the tables around for a close 86-83 triumph that put SMB on the threshold on its maiden crown in the regional league.

“The important thing is we have to get off to a good start,” said Parks. “In Game 1, we didn’t really play well in the beginning but we hung around. I don’t know if that was a little rust or a little championship jitters but we managed to keep our composure.”

The seven-time PBA Best Import Parks expects another hard grind against the host Indons.

“The first game of the series didn’t surprise me that it went down the wire because there are two great teams here. I think this says a lot about the quality of the ABL, each year has been getting better and better,“ he said during yesterday’s press conference in Jakarta.

His counterpart at the Warriors’ bench, Todd Purves, vowed to fight back hard to force a deciding Game 3.

“We played a tough Game 1 and we are ready to bounce back in Game 2. We had one week of preparations and we are looking forward to a great game on Saturday,” Purves said.

Import and leading scorer Evan Brock backed him up.

“We have our backs against the wall on Saturday. We have to focus more and execute well.  We have to play smarter also. We are basketball players, if you don’t love this part of the game, you should not be playing.”

As in the series opener, eyes will be on the matchup between SMB’s Fil-Italian Chris Banchero and Indonesia’s Fil-Am Stanley Pringle.

“He’s a great a player,” Banchero said of Pringle, who had 14 first-quarter points in Game 1 for 21 overall. “I know coach [Parks] will make some adjusments in Game 2 but I expect him to come out and play his best. He’s just that type of a player.”

The support crew of both SMB and IW are expected to step up, as well.

“I want to provide leadership. I’m keeping everybody focused and also reminding everybody to just play our game.” said SMB veteran Froilan Baguion, who was a game-changer in Game 1, issuing nine assists and scoring a clutch triple.

Purves wants more bench contribution this time, after getting only seven, all from Jerrick Cañada, last Saturday. “I need to get some guys more minutes earlier in the game. When it comes to my rotation, I’m going to rely on the bench a little more. They will need to step up,” he said.

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