“Disappointing” may still be an understatement on how to describe San Miguel Beermen’s finish this conference.

With a 2-7 win-loss card, they just went from (almost an) hero to zero. From first runners-up to cellar dwellers.

Some may blame the blockbuster trade that happened prior to the start of the conference. Marquee players Danny Seigle and Dondon Hontiveros, trusty center Dorian Pena, and energetic guy Paul Artadi were traded to Air 21 “Sagot Ko Ang Players Mo” Express for promising center Rabeh Al-Hussaini, defensive specialist Noy Baclao, and Rey “Hayden Kho look-a-like” Guevarra.

Dondon, Dorian, Danny S, and Paul in an Air21 shirt

Rey, Noy, and Rabeh after getting drafted by Air 21

The trade did not sit well for many long time Beermen fans. The Dynamite, arguably one of the best Fil-Am players the PBA ever had, will forever be identified  with SMB, what with the championships he helped give the team. The Cebuano Hotshot will always be adored not only by SMB fans but also by PBA fans as well for his charisma and professionalism. Dorian was a staple at the middle since the early 2000’s after his stint in the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association. Lastly, team fans already fell in love with Kid Lighting’s energy and probably his funny ways on how to annoy opponents.

But that’s business. Players come and go. I would have loved the idea of Seigle and Dondon retiring in SMB like Olsen Racela. But the management chose to give them away when their trade value is still relatively high. Again, it’s a business decision die-hard fans do not have a say. In due time, veterans will be replaced by young blood. Experience will have to be sacrificed for youth. Fans should accept and deal with it.

But what I just did not like seeing this conference was the lethargic play of the team. There were some games where you could already notice their body language just screaming “defeated.” And mind you, it was still midway through the game. The way they played is a stark contrast of how some Barako Bull players strut their stuff inside the court when their team was still in the PBA. These were the guys who have all the reason to be demoralized. They did not have a legit star in the team. The moment they play well, they can expect themselves to be sold to other teams as if being just plain commodities. These were the guys whose salaries were months delayed! But they still fought.

I am just a mere spectator and I don’t know what’s with the team. Did the trade affect them? Did they feel unsecured? I don’t know. Whatever that is, it still should never be an excuse to play shitty basketball.

It’s okay to lose. But if they lose, I want to see them play with dignity and pride.

I guess it would not be hard for SMB fans like me to expect a better Beermen team next confy, which will carry a new team name – Petron.

As they say, there is no way to go but up.