MANILA, Philippines - A souped-up San Miguel Beermen side eyes revenge against tormentor Westports Malaysia Dragons as they tangle in an Easter Sunday encounter in the third AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
The Beermen (11-4) parade a new import in 6-foot-11 Nick Fazekas in the 3 p.m. duel, determined to get back at the Dragons (7-7), who are on a five-game slide but seem to have SMB’s numbers all season long. The Dragons prevailed in their first two meetings, 83-77 (OT) in KL and 73-70 in Pasig.
“It’s kind of payback time for us,” said SMB coach Bobby Parks Sr., whose wards took an early flight to the Malaysian capital yesterday. “They beat us in both games and I’m sure they will be prepared for this one.”
Fazekas, who averaged 30.57 points, 18.43 rebounds, 2.29 blocks and 2 assists in seven games with Petron in the PBA, brings with him a wealth of experience and hot shooting hands. He teams up with another former PBA import in Duke Crews, who is playing in only his second game after debuting with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the Beermen’s 71-69 win over Indonesia Warriors on the road last Saturday.
“Nick (Fazekas) is a great player but it’s just a matter of how quickly he can jell with the team. I think he will be able to complement Duke Crews who is more of a scorer,” said Parks.
Dragons’ Filipino coach Ariel Vanguardia said he expects a game of adjustments against the Beermen, who in addition to changing imports, have beefed up their lineup with the acquisition of veterans Roger Yap and John Ferriols in the run-up to the playoffs.
“San Miguel is a tough opponent. They have made a lot of moves to get better. The Beermen will have extra motivation to beat us because we are 2-0 against them. We must hold up the fort because they will come hard at us. It will be a game of adjustments. Our goal is to stay close and have a chance to steal it in the endgame,” said Vanguardia.
Once the league’s top team, the Dragons have been on a struggle, their cause hurt further by injuries to original reinforcements Brian Williams and Tiras Wade. Devon Sullivan and Cheyenne Moore took the cudgels for Malaysia in its last outing, with Sullivan shooting 16 and Moore finishing with only seven.