Mo Tautuaa is confident that the return of June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo plus the addition of CJ Perez will make things easier for San Miguel Beer following a disappointing bubble campaign that ended its long title reign in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Fajardo and Romeo are set to make a comeback in the 46th season while Perez’s arrival courtesy of a late-January trade with the Terrafirma Dyip will keep the Beermen in the conversation as among the favorites to claim the season-opening Philippine Cup.
“We have June Mar coming back and CJ stepping in, I mean that’s just more people to help make the game easier,” Tautuaa said in an interview with former PBA commissioner Noli Eala on the latter’s program Power and Play.
Fajardo is expected to finally suit up after missing the bubble due to an injured shin he sustained during practice in Feb. 2020.
Tautuaa forgot to mention Romeo, whose stint ended during the first week of the Pampanga bubble after hurting his shoulder against TNT.
Injuries piled during the middle of the campaign with ace defender Chris Ross hurt his right thumb, Marcio Lassiter dealing with a muscle strain and Alex Cabagnot having a hamstring issue.
Arwind Santos and Tautuaa did flourish as SMB’s main players, with the latter even getting nominated for a spot in the Mythical Team. But the Beermen’s exit from the bubble was hastened with the Meralco Bolts winning their quarterfinal duel despite a twice-to-beat advantage.
“It felt weird because everyone kept getting hurt. It’s just like everyday there’s someone new. We just kept on playing. I knew for myself I just have to keep it simple. It’s basketball so you just have to keep on enjoying it,” said Tautuaa.
Perez’s arrival is expected to ease the load of veteran core for the coming season, something SMB hopes would translate to a return to the winner’s podium.