MANILA, Philippines - Assembling a roster that could give even the toughest PBA teams a run for their money, the San Miguel Beermen look forward to plunging into the action and resuming their title drive in the fourth season of the ASEAN Basketball League in January.
Gabe Freeman and Brian Williams, familiar faces in the home-and-away regional cage loop, have been tapped to reinforce the Beermen as they bid to strike gold after a disappointing bridesmaid finish to the Indonesia Warriors this year.
SMB also signed up former PBA MVP Asi Taulava and veteran Erik Menk to hook up with reigning ABL MVP Leo Avenido, Chris Banchero and Chris Luanzon in the souped up Beermen roster which will again be mentored by Bobby Parks, Sr.
Also donning the SMB jersey for the next campaign are Rob Labagala, Paulo Hubalde, JR Cawaling, RJ Rizada, Val Acuña, and Hans Thiele. Two slots are still up for grabs, according to San Miguel Corp. sports director Noli Eala and those trying out are Fil-Swiss Michael Andre Burtscher, Bryan Faundo, Khasim Mirza, and veteran Norman Gonzalez.
"First day of practice has arrived. Three months to get team chemistry down and learn coach Bobby Parks' system. Let's do this," Taulava said before the Beermen began their training camp at HOOPS Center in Shaw Boulevard yesterday.
Last year, the powerhouse Beermen were favored to rule the tourney but fell short of their title bid, losing the last two games of the best-of-three championship series to the Warriors, including the decider at home.
Freeman returns to the franchise he helped win two PBA titles in 2009-10. He led the Phl Patriots to the ABL title in its inaugural year and a runner-up finish in the second season.