All team governors and officials named back-to-back Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer as the team to beat in the upcoming Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup that begins on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
“The teams to beat are the usual suspects. It’s going to be the champions of last season’s conferences San Miguel Beer (Philippine Cup), Rain or Shine (Commissioner’s Cup) and Ginebra (Governor’s Cup),” said Season 42 Chairman Mikee Romero during Monday’s news conference at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.
Meralco alternate governor Ryan Gregorio also sees SMB as the most formidable team because of the presence of three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter.
“For as long as Fajardo is playing, San Miguel Beer is up there,” said Gregorio, also a former Purefoods and Meralco coach. “The other competitive teams are Talk ‘N Text and Ginebra, while the dark horses are Meralco and Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) because coach Yeng (Guiao) is there.”
Phoenix Petroleum governor Raymond Zorrilla named San Miguel Beer, Ginebra, Talk ‘N Text and the Star Hotshots as the most competitive teams in the upcoming season.
“I like to put Phoenix because there is a saying love thy own but I have to be realistic,” Zorilla said.
Alaska governor Dickie Bachmann said all San Miguel Corporation teams namely San Miguel Beer, Ginebra and Star Hotshots – and the teams of Manny V. Pangilinan—Talk ‘N Text, Meralco and NLEX—including Alaska are heavy favorites.
“It is difficult to name four. All SMC teams, all Manny V. Pangilinan’s team and Alaska,” said Bachmann.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer’s governor Robert Non said that he expects a tough battle this season. “We really have a big chance but depends on how we prepare and how motivated we are,” Non told The Manila Times in an interview.
“On paper, we are a strong team but we’re expecting hard fought games. We’re going to battle it out because all teams have upgraded their line-up,” Non added. “Talk N Text, Rain or Shine, Alaska and Ginebra are the list of teams to watch out for this season.”
Star Hotshots governor Rene Pardo chose San Miguel Beer and Ginebra as the strongest teams this season because of intact line-up while GlobalPort is the league’s dark horse because of the presence of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle.
Barangay Ginebra team governor Alfrancis Chua named Alaska, Talk ‘N Text, San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine as toughest contenders while Blackwater coach Leo Isaac sees strongest opposition from San Miguel Beer, Rain or Shine, Ginebra and Meralco.
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa, for his part, said it is hard to determine which team is the strongest this season. “It is hard to choose. There are six or eight teams to beat so far,” said Narvasa.
The Philippine Cup will open on Sunday with the Star Hotshots playing against reigning champion San Miguel Beer at 6:30 p.m. after the 4 p.m. opening ceremony.