THERE’S always a next time.
That’s what officials of San Miguel Beer expressed after their bid for the second season sweep in franchise history come to a screeching halt right in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals.
“We came up short again sa second try namin. Nothing happened again,” coach Leo Austria said after the Beermen lost 97-100 to Ginebra last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Painful for us, especially if you want to achieve something,” added Austria.
“I hope these things that happened to us, along the way, could help us in the future,” he added. “This is not the end of the world. We still have a lot of chances. It’s up to us. Maybe next time.
That sentiment was echoed by SMB prized center June Mar Fajardo.
“Ganoon talaga. Hindi naman ganoon kadali makuha ang grand slam, pero thankful pa rin kami kay God na nakakuha kami ng two out of three championships. Hindi na rin masama ang season namin,” said Fajardo.
“Pasalamat nga kami, may chance kami makuha ‘yung grand slam. ‘Yung ibang teams, di makaabot sa playoffs, pero kami nasa playoffs kami lagi,” added Fajardo.
“Nakakalungkot man na di namin nakuha ‘yung goal namin, may next year pa naman, may next season pa naman.”
It was practically déjà vu for SMB and Ginebra.
Two years ago, the third-seeded Kings also dispatched the sixth-ranked Beermen in just one game in their quarterfinals duel in the season-ending tourney, ending the latter’s bid for the grand slam.
This time, and again armed with a win-once advantage, fourth-ranked Ginebra again took just one game to boot out their fifth-seeded foes and advance to the semifinals of the season-ending tournament the Kings ruled in 2016 and 2017.
The quick ending to its campaign is a bitter pill to swallow for SMB, especially after its impressive championship runs in both the Philippine and Commissioners Cups.
Talks of a grand slam were further stoked when the Beermen got off to a 4-0 start in the Governors Cup.
Then things suddenly fell apart, touched off by an injury to import Dez Wells in a game against Meralco late last month.
John Holland was brought in as a temporary replacement, but he became SMB’s permanent import when Wells got involved in a practice fracas that also featured Arwind Santos, Kelly Nabong and Ronald Tubid.
Just before the Beermen’s last eliminations game against TNT, Santos, Nabong and Tubid were meted indefinite suspensions while Wells was sent packing.