The San Miguel Beermen missed the services of guard Terrence Romeo anew on Sunday, in the match versus Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
According to coach Leo Austria, the flashy combo guard has been sick since the team returned from Dubai last week, where they played the NLEX Road Warriors at the Coca-Cola Arena.
Romeo did not play in the Beermen’s match with long-time rivals and defending champs Magnolia Hotshots last Friday. Still, SMB bucked his absence and won by a point, 90-89.
But if San Miguel managed to win on Friday, that was not the case against the Gin Kings.
The Beermen tried to pull off a comeback from 18 points down, but Justin Brownlee and the crowd darlings were the better team down the stretch. Ginebra eventually walked away with the 129-124 win.
For former three-time Coach of the Year Austria, they really felt the absence of Romeo against the Barangay.
“Kanina ‘yung game talagang nagkulang kami ng isang guard na who could give some ample time para kay Chris Ross. Imagine, Chris Ross played forty minutes,” said Austria.
“And then Dez Wells, most of the time siya [gumagawa]. If we have Romeo, medyo mada-divert ‘yung ibang attention, hindi lang kay Dez Wells.”
Besides the absence of the six-year pro out of Far Eastern University, Austria admitted that fatigue played a factor in the defeat. He does not, however, want to make it an excuse.
“It’s hard to contain their energy especially when you’re playing a back-to-back game — Friday against Magnolia, and this game against Ginebra — but that’s no excuse,” he said.
“But nafi-feel din namin dahil we’re not able to plan well against Ginebra. But credit to them, they know what to do.”
This marks San Miguel’s first loss after winning their first three games. Austria isn’t ringing the alarm yet, though, since the Beermen’s aim of getting into the Top Four is still attainable.
“What happened tonight is a lesson learned for us,” he said. “Good thing is that this is only our first loss because this conference, our goal is to get into the Top Four.”
“And still, number two kami, and we still have the opportunity compared to the other teams.”