The retooled AirAsia Philippine Patriots fell short in their bid to win the To Be Number One Basketball Challenge here but coach Glenn Capacio saw some positive signs that he hopes to build on for the third season of the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League.
In a battle between two Filipino squads, the much-prepared San Miguel Beermen outplayed the Patriots in the payoff period for an 84-76 win and topped the fund-raising tournament.
Capacio took the loss graciously, saying: “They deserved to win, matagal na silang nagpeprepare at kami naman isang buwan pa lang so malayo pa talaga kami as far as being a team.”
But Capacio vowed to work things out to be ready and be a contender again in the ABL tournament which fires off on January 14.
“Ang advantage sa amin ngayon is may idea na kami sa mga kalaban namin sa season but we have to prepare better dahil magiging competitive ang mga teams,” Capacio said.
The coming season, according to Patriots team manager Erick Arejola, could be a lot tougher for the them than in the first two seasons with the presence of the Beermen.
That was reflected in San Miguel’s play last Sunday that saw them outscore the Patriots in the first two minutes of the payoff period with import Richard Jeter scoring five in a 7-0 run to pull away for good.
After a see-saw battle in the first quarter, the Beermen came through with several spurts to take a 41-33 lead at halftime which they guarded gallantly to keep the Patriots at bay.