Sarcastic Fact: Without Bench Players, SMB Would have Suffered a Loss to Phoenix, Surprising Numbers
San Miguel Beermen had nothing new to offer than their old reliable self, at least until Christian Standhardinger arrives.
The only key to success for SMB: SMB does need to reinvent themselves.
If you felt the sarcasm in the title it was intentional. San Miguel Beermen's core 5 players were brilliant as always as they put a notice to the league that this conference is theirs for the taking.
Doing exactly what they have been doing in the past three years they are looking to capture their 4th All- Filipino Championship in the 43rd season of the PBA conference. Coach Leo Austria, the Maestro of the Beermen basically just let his fab 5 plays all game long.
Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, JunMar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot all played above 30 minutes in the game and all scored double-digit each. The big man in the middle Fajardo led the scoring parade with 23 points followed by Alex Cabagnot who logged 22 points including 3 three-pointers.The rest of the crew Ross (16 points), Lassiter (20 points) and Santos( 14 points) all contributed much-needed statistics not just in points but in rebounds and assists. The core group is working like a well-oiled machine and it will be difficult to challenge them but the fact is, they can't do it themselves.
In the game against Phoenix, the SMB scored a total of 104 points against only 96 points of Phoenix. An 8 point win by the SMB, however, the core 5 players only scored a combined 95 points, that is a bucket short to win the game. They needed the help of Matt Ganuelas Rosser who scored 4 points and Von Pessumal tallied 5 points. The Core 5 could not do it themselves :).
SMB dominance, doesn't really need the bench players
It's not that team does not already know what to do against SMB who has been doing the same thing for years. The issue here is how to actually implement those strategies against the almost given rotation of the players of SMB. The Beermen don't really need to use the bench players a majority of the power is centered among the five players that were mentioned above. Coach Leo likes to stick to his guns and would only almost replace them inside the court when they are tired or already winning.
It's not that Coach has less of a job than others, it's just that he has found the right combinations of players that complement each other inside and outside the court. This is what makes them really dangerous. I wonder what a Christian Standhardinger will do to their chemistry?