Romeo, assistant coach Alapag join fully loaded Beermen
Terrence Romeo and Jimmy Alapag join a beefed-up San Miguel squad.
Romeo, assistant coach Alapag join fully loaded Beermen
Nelson Beltran ( - January 3, 2019 - 1:55pm

MANILA, Philippines – All eyes will definitely on San Miguel Beer as it tries to make history in pursuing a record fifth straight Philippine Cup championship in PBA Season 44 that comes off the wraps January 13 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

“We’ll be everybody’s target, but we’ll make the best preparation that we can. That’s the key,” said SMB team manager Gie Abanilla as they started full practice Thursday.

San Miguel also did its assignment to make the team better, acquiring Terrence Romeo and Paul Zamar, and reenlisting Ronald Tubid to take the spots of David Semerad, Brian Heruela and Keith Agovida.

Then the management boosted the team’s think tank in signing up Jimmy Alapag as an addition to coach Leo Austria’s staff.

Romeo and Alapag showed up in the SMB practice for the first time Thursday.

“We’ve got a competitive lineup, kaya lang lahat pinaghahandaan kami. So we have to be ready. Hindi pwedeng short preparation and it’s really the key. If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail,” said Abanilla.

The amiable team manager believes all the teams have improved, but considers Barangay Ginebra, Magnolia, TNT KaTropa and NLEX as the toughest challengers.

They chase a fifth straight all-Filipino title run that has never been achieved in PBA history.

Before San Miguel’s fourth-peat, the Crispa Redmanizers had their own four championships in a row in the league’s most prestigious tourney in a six-year period starting in 1979. No all-Filipino event was held in 1981 and 1980.

The Beermen try to write a new chapter in franchise history with a lineup featuring a solid core that includes June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Christian Standhardinger, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and Kelly Nabong. And add Romeo, Zamar and Tubid.

“Malakas yan but we have to prepare them to play as one cohesive unit,” said Abanilla. “The team has become younger on the arrival of Romeo and Paul Zamar. Ronald, for his part, is to provide experience, energy and toughness.”

Romeo and Alapag were warmly welcomed by the Beermen in practice Thursday.

“Actually, Romeo wanted to join the practice as early as Wednesday. Pero hindi ko na muna pinasipot because I briefed our players first. I wanted to start things on the right foot,” said Abanilla.

“We’ve been talking to Terrence since the Christmas season. Maraming bagay na lumabas tungkol sa kanya but I think he’s okay. He has valid reasons,” Abanilla also said. “He’s really a competitive person, but he’s young and needs guidance. Hopefully, magkatulungan kami sa team.”

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