MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Beer head coach Biboy Ravanes admits there is increased pressure on his team to do well in the upcoming PBA Commissioner’s Cup after they took back the franchise’s legendary name.
The Beermen played as the Petron Blaze Boosters as recently as the PBA Philippine Cup, but starting the next conference, they will play under the banner of the San Miguel Beermen again.
“Kahit ano ang pangalan ng team, the pressure is always there,” Ravanes told PBA.ph. “Mas dagdag lang, kasi San Miguel is the flagship.”
“They’re expecting us to lead,” he said.
The name was not the only thing that SMB changed in preparation for the Commissioner’s Cup. They also changed coaches, putting Ravanes in charge while elevating last conference’s coach, Gee Abanilla, to team manager.
“On my end, I’ll just do my job and stay focused,” said Ravanes. “May pressure talaga, but we’re hoping for no less than the championship.”
The team also made changes in personnel. Alex Cabagnot, the chief playmaker for Petron, was shipped out in a multi-player trade that allowed San Miguel Beer to land Sol Mercado and Rico Maeirhofer.
“With the new acquisitions, sa tingin namin ‘yun ang kulang eh. Kung ma-remember namin ‘yung games namin, parang hirap kami maka-finish,” said Ravanes. “Sa end game, nawawala.”
“The additions of Sol and Rico, malaking factor ‘yun. Important sa amin na when the going gets tough, may magle-lead sa team inside the court, especially for Sol. ‘Yun ang factor kaya kinuha namin siya,” he added.
“Iba siya kay Alex. Magaling siya, pero we felt mas good fit sa amin ngayon si Sol.”