The San Miguel Beermen came up short in defending its Fiesta Conference crown against the Alaska Aces. After a solid performance in its series against its sister team, the Derby Ace Llamados, it seemed that the Beermen were on their way for a back-to-back championship. But alas, Tim Cone and the rest of the Aces spoiled the party. They ended the series – 4 games to 2.

1. It was really heartbreaking for a die-hard SMB fan like me to witness how  my team crumbled in the end. The desire to win may have been there but the heart and killer instinct were not.

2. SMB’s line-up is really strong but is not balanced. Robert Non, basketball operations head of San Miguel Corp. (SMC), has been playing fantasy basketball for so long after getting and hoarding star players from other teams. And after each conference, Non had this knack for tinkering lineups. How can the team improve its chemistry if there are player movements all the time?

3. The sacking of Coach Siot Tanquincen in games 5 and 6 is downright cruel. And the management already did that to him midway in the conference. I am not entirely a Siot fan but I think he does not deserve to be treated like that. What with the 3 PBA crowns he already gave to SMC.

4. One thing that SMC management doesn’t have is Alaska management’s patience. How many times did the Aces come up short for a title? They lost a heartbreaker of a championship series  against TNT in 2009 and got swept by Purefoods (now Llamados) last All Filipino Cup. Yet their management decided to stick with Tim Cone and his system. And look, it’s already paying dividends.

5. So yeah, I hope the SMB management will have more patience. I am for tweaking the lineup just a bit like adding younger role players in exchange of  maybe Lordy Tugade and Dorian Pena. But I hope the management would stick with our new core players: Jonas Villanueva/Alex Cabagnot/Denok Miranda – Joseph Yeo – Arwind Santos/Jay Wasghinton (and probably get a younger center).

6. The SMB trio – Olsen Racela, Danny Siegle, and Danny Ildefonso- can still play. Probably their legs can still survive professional bball for around 1-2 years. But I think it’s high time for the younger ones to take over. And with that, I’m hoping for a Beermen championship ring this coming AFC as a poetic send off for Danny S. and Olsen. (Danny I. can  still provide quality minutes off the bench as a back-up forward/center.)

7. The pressure to produce NOW is getting to the heads of the players too much already (masyado din kasing atat ang management). The Beermen is on a “transition” stage. Yes, the team had a frustrating finish last season, now move on. Take the learning experience.. then come out strong the next conference. Exactly what Alaska has been doing.


Now off to a more disappointing topic: The UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball team.

The season has not ended yet. But with the 0-10 win-loss card they have right now, they won’t reach the semifinals even if we put the new Miami Heat trio of Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron James in the lineup. So it’s just proper to write a postmortem for them.

1. So much for the hype of having a Final Four finish this season. Next time we should not expect too much so we won’t get disappointed.

2. They still lack experience – a surprising note since this team is composed of many veterans. For some reason, they just don’t have the balls to close out a game, like what happened when they squandered a 22-point lead and lost it all to the National University Bulldogs.

3. Having a hotshot star in Mike Silungan in the lineup just won’t cut it.

4. After the sacking of Coach Aboy Castro (who said in an interview that his system revolves around the players having utmost freedom to freewheel aka there’s-actually-no-system-at-all), I thought the Maroons would do better with Coach Boyet Fernandez, a veteran coach in the pro league, at the helm. But I was wrong. Maybe, more than the lack of skills, the UP players also just do not know how to play with pride… with winning tradition.. with killer instinct.

5. Maybe it’s the lack of highly skilled players. Or the system. Or the too much politicking in the admin. Or the lack of support extended by the UP alumni. But whatever it is, the UP MBT will have a frustrating finish this season. The bottom of the standings had been a very familiar territory anyway.