MANILA, Philippines - Pacesetting AirAsia Philippine Patriots eye revenge against the San Miguel Beermen while seeking a league record in consecutive wins when they clash today in the third AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League at the Arena in San Juan.
The Patriots have won all but one of their seven assignments so far, their only blemish coming at the hands of SMB, 70-78 setback last Jan. 14, and the 2 p.m. tussle could well be the moment for payback for the host Patriots.
At the same time, a vengeful triumph over SMB (6-3) will allow the Patriots to set a new ABL mark in successive wins at seven games.
"Hopefully, this time we can match up better against San Miguel," said Patriots coach Glenn Capacio, looking for imports Anthony Johnson and Nakiea Miller to lead the way with locals like league assist leader Al Vergara, Jonathan Fernandez and Aldrech Ramos backing them up.
The team, co-owned by Mikee Romero and Tony Boy Cojuangco, is expected to work hard on defense against the taller Beermen.
"That's my philosophy, no easy baskets," Capacio reiterated during yesterday's practice.
Darlon Johnson, who had 27 points and 16 rebounds in their 81-77 overtime win over the Indonesia Warriors, banners the SMB side, seeking to get support from new import Jarrid Famous and locals Froilan Baguion and Leo Avenido.
"It's gonna be a tough game. It will come down to which team does a better job of running the offense," said SMB coach Bobby Parks, adding they also need to make adjustments to address match-up problems posed by the Patriots' Johnson.
He likewise expects to get more production from Famous who arrived from New York on the same day he made a scoreless 16-minute debut for SMB against the Warriors.
"The first time he had jetlag. He hadn't had time to adjust to the time zone. I expect a lot more from him this time," said Parks of Famous, who replaced the injured Doug Thomas.