With players back in full health, SMB starting to peak at the right time

Published December 7, 2022, 10:52 PM

by Reynald I. Magallon

Safe to say, San Miguel Beer is starting to peak at the right time.

June Mar Fajardo is back to his usual dominant form (PBA Images)

After a roller-coaster elimination campaign that saw the team struggle even after a couple of import changes, the Beermen now looked exactly the squad that most people are expecting after dismantling the Converge FiberXers in Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinals series.

According to assistant coach Jorge Gallent, the team is simply jelling together after finally getting complete with the return of June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo.

“Well it’s just a jelling of the team. It’s much better now. They’re jelling now. The best part about it is everybody’s healthy now. So everybody’s contributing,” said Gallent as the Beermen flaunted their depth led by CJ Perez, import Devon Scott and Fajardo.

SMB has now actually won five straight games since the latter part of the eliminations and for Gallent, it was just the beauty of having a healthy team back.

The Beermen, aside from Romeo who was out since last season and Fajardo who was sidelined for almost a month, the Beermen also had to deal with occasional injuries to Chris Ross, Mo Tautuaa and Vic Manuel during the eliminations.

“Everybody’s doing their job and you know it’s so nice to have a healthy team. The first few parts of the elimination, we had a lot of injuries, we had to deal with a lot of that. So now, we’re healthy and the jelling is there so you know we’ve been doing a great job of sharing the ball and going to the right places,” he explained.

However, as much as the Beermen are performing well as of late, there were still some causes for concern, especially when they tend to relax in the fourth quarter after building a sizeable margin.

SMB couldn’t keep its hold of a huge 31-point lead as Converge threatened in the payoff period.

“We have to really look at the tape and watch our fourth quarter because most of the time, the (lead) really goes down, the same thing that happened to the Meralco game, so we had to watch video and look at what’s really happening,” said Gallent who also warned the Beermen of being complacent against a dangerous FiberXers crew.

“We can’t just relax with things like this because this is already the playoffs. You know they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t a good team. We have to play for 48 minutes of aggressive basketball,” he stressed.