Still on cloud nine after winning its first Philippine Cup since 2001, the San Miguel Beermen were sent crashing back to earth.
They lost to a lowly Kia Carnival squad, a team that has yet to win since its debut victory in the opening game of the season last year at the Philippine Arena.
But June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos, the team’s two best players and Most Valuable Player awardees, said there’s no need to make a big fuss even after losing to an expansion squad like Kia, which plays with the biggest import in the tournament – 7-foot-3 slotman PJ Ramos.
“Talo talaga. May mga bagay talaga na hindi mo ini-expect na mangyayari, pero nangyari,” Fajardo told Tiebreaker Times. “Kailangan naming maglaro nang mabuti kasi kagagaling lang namin sa championship.”
Santos, the recent Finals MVP, added: “Para sa amin, parang pinahalik muna kami sa lupa. Mas magandang maaga na nangyari ito sa amin. At least, hindi sa huli nangyari.”
The Beermen shot just 37% from the field and had six less assists than their more inexperienced counterparts.
Starting point guard Alex Cabagnot was more of an eyesore as he was completely outplayed by LA Revilla, who scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out six assists. Marcio Lassiter struggled for four markers.
But most noticeable was the inability of import Ronald Roberts to adjust quickly to the team’s system. Roberts appeared lost on how the Beermen run things and that didn’t escape the attention of Santos.
“Kung makikita mo, hindi maikakaila na yung sistema ni Coach Leo (Austria) pati yung mga plays namin hindi niya pa makuha. Medyo magulo,” added Santos.