EVEN without its most prized center San Miguel Beer remains a lethal force in the PBA Governors Cup.
Indefatigable Christian Standhardinger, newly arrived from his Asian Games stint, came off the bench to score a PBA career-high 36 points on top of 11 boards. AZ Reid, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter also came up with significant contributions.
So Blackwater coach Bong Ramos knows exactly what his Elite must do when they tangle with the Beermen Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"Defense is the key," said Ramos on the eve of the match which has each of the combatants eyeing to notch a second win in as many games.
"We really have to work double time on the defensive end," added Ramos. "If not, SMB will score a lot of points and we'll have a big problem."
Case in point for Ramos is the way the Beermen walloped NLEX 125-112 in its conference debut last Saturday, even without Fajardo, who is due to be out seven more weeks due to a fractured shin.
The way SMB proved to be a big road block for NLEX and, at the same time, practically issued a stern warning to the rest of the field was not lost on Ramos.
"San Miguel is one of the teams to beat this conference, even without Fajardo," said Ramos. "Against NLEX four players scored a total of 103 points."
If its own rousing start in the season-ending conference is to be the gauge, Blackwater should prove to be a handful for SMB.
The Elite defied the odds by outlasting pre-tournament favorite TNT 104-98 in overtime last Aug. 24 to readily match their number of wins in the last Commissioner's Cup, where they wound up dead-last.
Led by Allein Maliksi, Henry Walker, Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Nards Pinto, Blackwater showed uncanny poise in both regulation and extension to complete the upset.
Now, another Asiad hero in Poy Erram is set to see action and further reinforce Blackwater.
The match is expected to be a close one since both teams are expected to give it their all before going on a long break to give way for the country's participation in the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Blackwater is set to see action next against NorthPort on Sept. 19 and SMB suiting up anew two days later against Columbian.(NC)