Nov 13, 2019

Long break to settle Wells concern for SMB

INSTEAD of playing an official contest San Miguel is forced to play a wait-and-see game.

It's not that the Beermen are complaining, what with coach Leo Austria even welcoming the 10-day break between their last game and the contest that ends the PBA Governors Cup eliminations.

"Mahirap maghintay ng ganito katagal, pero siyempre maganda rin considering the status of some of our players," said SMB coach Leo Austria.

"Kasi gusto mo nang maglaro ulit agad but some of our players also need the break para makapahinga naman kahit konti. Kasi bukod sa amin sa San Miguel may mga iba diyan nagpa-practice pa sa Gilas."

More than anything else, however, the extra time off should also help SMB reach a decision on Dez Wells.

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According to Austria, the prolific import has already been participating in shootarounds since SMB resumed practices last Tuesday but will only start participating in full practices Thursday.

"After a few practices malalaman na kung talagang okay na siya," bared Austria.

"After na-X-ray at saka MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) na-clear na siya. So kailangan na lang siguro niya to get back in game-shape. We'll see."

Wells sprained his ankle in a game against Meralco last Oct. 27. He seems to have recovered during the All-Saints' Day break but suddenly informed the team on the eve of its next outing against Blackwater last Wednesday that he was feeling pain on the foot.

That forced the Beermen to play all-Filipino against the Elite and to bring in temporary replacement John Holland in time for their game against Rain or Shine last Saturday in Lapu-Lapu City.

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"Actually, last game parang gusto na niyang maglaro kaya lang it's too late," revealed Austria. "Siyempre, nakapagparating na kami ng temporary import."

Sadly, Holland's league debut didn't turn out as planned as the Elasto Painters pulled off a 91-85 win that put the Beermen in a must-win situation against TNT in a game ending the eliminations on Wednesday.

Holland did have a decent outing, putting up 10 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks despite planning in just the day before. He is surely bristling to show his true worth if given another chance.

And that is the biggest question.

"Holland is not bad, kaya lang nagkaroon na ng comparison. Si Dez 37 points per game. Bago nga siya na-injured 39 points per game. At saka iyung mga baskets niya karamihan timely," offered Austria.

"Sayang nga kung di siya na-injured tuloy-tuloy na sana kami (to a top four slot in the quarterfinals)," added Austria, referring to the berth that has a twice-to-beat advantage in the ensuing quarterfinals. (NC)