The San Miguel Beermen have a regular rotation that is noticeably shorter than that of the Alaska Aces or even the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, but what matters is to get contributions from the players part of that rotation.
Chris Lutz is one of the longest-tenured Beermen in the current roster, having played his entire career so far with San Miguel. While he is not the go-to option, he knows having positive impact in the minutes he’ll spend on the court is a huge plus.
“We have a lot of talent in this team, and we have a lot of guys who can contribute in different ways. Even without June Mar (Fajardo), we are confident in our team and it is just a huge bonus when he got in there,” Lutz said.
The wing man has cracked the starting lineup in Games 4 and 5, adding to his confidence. In Game 5, which San Miguel won in overtime, 86-73, Lutz gave the team an early cushion by draining three straight jumpers from mid-range.
“It definitely helps to get a good start, especially against Alaska. I’m just, whenever I’m out, I am just ready whenever coach calls me. We are just trying to get the job done and see what we can do,” Lutz shared.
“We all gotta contribute. We have a lot of guys who can score. You saw Gabby (Espinas) have a huge double-double last game and we can throw it to him every time we want. There are a lot of different guys we can go to,” he said. “But guys like me, Ryan (Arana), Ronald (Tubid), anybody coming off the bench contributing, we need to come in and get really solid minutes so there is no downside when we’re going in there.”
And with June Mar Fajardo back in the fold, the complexion of the series has changed. Pressure is on the Aces to respond, while the Beermen are even more determined to challenge the odds.
And it’s credit to the rest of the Beermen, who fought tooth and nail, despite the glaring absence, to stay alive until the reigning Most Valuable Player was able to stage a return.
“The longer we extend this, the better he will get and be able to contribute more, so anything can happen. We’ve been right there every game and that’s what has given us confidence. We could have had those first three games. It’s going to be a battle every time. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to another overtime. But we just got to fight through,” Lutz said.