MANILA, Philippines (ABL Season 3): For a team that’s playing its debut season, the San Miguel Beermen have done exceedingly well – in the words of coach Bobby Parks “beyond expectations.”
The Filipino outfit finished the Regular Season with flying colors taking the top seed, but in the play-offs were stretched to the wire – winning one of their home games in Overtime.
“I think we have over achieved this year, but we are not satisfied just being in the Finals,” Parks told this website as the Beermen braced up to host Game 1 of the best-of-three Finals against the hot-streaking Indonesia Warriors this weekend.
FIBA Asia: How does it feel taking the team to the Finals?
Parks: I think it’s been a very good ride for it being our first year in league. I’m very proud of my team and coaching staff.
FIBA Asia: Has a tough semifinal play-off tuned the team well for the Finals?
Parks: Yes. I think it helped us to discover some of our weakness and gave us a chance to fix them.
FIBA Asia: Can you mark out a player who has held his own with your plans so far?
Parks: Junmar Fajardo. Because I’ve seen his progress day by day. His minutes are limited because our imports play the same position, but he’s very productive with the minutes he’s given.
FIBA Asia: Playing the Finals, who are the players you count on to deliver?
Parks: Any of my players are capable of delivering on any given night.
FIBA Asia: What is your overall impression of ABL Season 3?
Parks: The ABL is a good league and getting more competitive every year. It took almost the whole season before the final four teams were determined.
There are more fans attending and that’s a credit to all the team managements for doing a good job of marketing their teams.
The records of the lower teams don’t show how good they were. Some had import problems, some lost close games.
FIBA Asia: Considering this is the first season for San Miguel in the ABL, has the entry to Finals met with your expectations?
Parks: To be honest we started putting the team together from scratch in September.
We didn’t know what to expect because we were the rookies in the ABL.
When we won the TO BE NUMBER 1 pre-season tournament in Bangkok, I started thinking that this team has potential.
So the next goal was to finish No 1 or No 2 in regular season, because with the league being so competitive we wanted to have the home advantage in the play-offs.
We played well enough to finish No 1. I think that helped us also in the Malaysia (Westport Malaysia Dragons) series (semifinals).
I think we have overachieved this year, but we are not satisfied just being in the Finals.
S Mageshwaran / FIBA Asia