The Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup holds its first road game in Davao City Saturday, featuring reigning two-conference champ San Miguel Beer versus a Globalport side with a beefed-up roster.
The Beermen, led by back-to-back MVP winner Junmar Fajardo, and the Batang Pier, bannered by their exciting backcourt rotation of Terrence Romeo, Stanley Pringle, Joseph Yeo, Jonathan Uyloan, Roi Sumang, clash at 5 p.m. to kick off the Petron-sponsored out-of-town tussles in the all-Filipino tourney.
San Miguel Beer is the consensus top choice, coming off a successful ride last season with championship runs in this very tourney and in the Governors Cup.
The team preserved its solid core of Fajardo, Chris Lutz, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Gabby Espinas, Arwind Santos and Ronald Tubid, and improved its reserve group in enlisting Brian Heruela and Ryan Arana.
Fajardo and Heruela are varsity teammates at the University of Cebu. Heruela moved over from Blackwater while Arana is a trade acquisition from Rain or Shine.
Completing the SMB roster are JayR Reyes, Nelbert Omolon, David Semerad and Yancy de Ocampo.
Globaport has its roster improvement, and coach Pido Jarencio and the team management are hopeful they can improve on their eighth-place finish in the 2014-15 Philippine Cup.
The team underwent a major revamp, taking in Yeo, Uyloan, Jay Washington, Dorian Pena, Jervy Cruz and rookies Sumang, Paolo Taha and Philip Paniamogan.
Interesting is how will Romeo carry himself after making his mark in international play.
He proved to be a big revelation in the Jones Cup and had his share in Gilas Pilipinas’ second-place finish to China in the FIBA Asia Championship.
Globalport is likely to be a rah-rah-rah team with Romeo, Pringle, Yeo and Sumang.
However, the Batang Pier are surely the underdogs in their season debut against the Beermen.
The Beermen dominated with a 9-2 win-loss record in the Philippine Cup elims last year. They then swept past the Talk n Text Tropang Texters in their best-of-seven semifinal series before beating out the Alaska Milk Aces, 4-3, in a classic final duel.