James Lang, Jon Castillo and Paul Diaz ruled the Urban Extreme Sports Challenge held during the Red Horse Beer Pambansang Muziklaban grand finals recently in Pasay City.

Plant officials of beer market leader San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMB) proudly show the awards they won in the recently held Don Emilio Abello Energy Efficiency Awards (DEAEEA) 2012.

San Miguel Beer back in the PBA brew

Veterans Danny Seigle and Olsen Racela couldn't be any happier now that they'll be known as the San Miguel Beermen anew in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

"I think I had better luck as a Beerman,"says Seigle while Racela adds:" I'm always a Beerman through and through."

The PBA pioneer team always used the name San Miguel Beer ever since it joined the PBA in 1975. San Miguel Beer, the Pale Pilsen variety, is the flagship product of San Miguel Brewery Inc. (SMB).

And it's not just the change of name that excites them most. Going into the PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beer had just acquired three more vital cogs in Mick Pennisi, Jay Washington and Bonbon Custodio in its drive for an 18th title in the league.

Saddled with injuries to most of its stars like Danny Ildefonso and Seigle and coming up short of the final in the recent Fiesta Conference, the trio complements the already-star studded cast by giving it the extra kick.

The 6'11" Pennisi, at 33, remains a feared and hard-nosed defender. Acquired in a celebrated trade recently, Pennisi vows to bring his brand of smart play into the San Miguel Beer system under Coach Siot Tanquincen.

"I'm not at all athletic and we know that athleticism just comes and goes. Although I'm not a high scorer, I can hit open shots, set good screens,"says the Fil-Australian.

At his side is a younger 6"8' Jay-Jay Washington, a former No. 1 pick who is destined to fulfill his illustrious billing as a top rookie. Following frustrating years with his former team, J-Wash, as he is called, is ready to start all over again with the Beermen.

"My huge smile should tell you that I'm very happy to be with San Miguel. I haven't had my A game after I was drafted and it was truly frustrating,"says the 26-year-old who looks to play a lot more pesky defense, block shots and make the right passes.

What Pennisi and Washington bring in size, Bonbon Custodio exudes in quickness, shooting and ability to penetrate when the need arises." I just want to play my best game with San Miguel. I have to do justice to being a San Miguel Beerman,"he says.

So it follows that with the addition of the trio, San Miguel Beer will kick into high gear a run-and-gun game aside from some new plays, according to Racela.

Tanquincen thinks that the Beermen have what it takes to play and up tempo game. "I believe that we can do it. As you can see in the international arena, that is the prevailing trend. It is just a matter of adjustment for the some of the players who are used to a half-court set."

Racela, for his part, will still be playing major minutes but will also play a key role in guiding the young players, particularly Marc Pingris and Jonas Villanueva who we are still fitting into Tanquincen's scheme of things.

The veterans also have some adjusting to do. Dorian Pena is lucky to have Ken Bono and Pennisi joining him at the post. Seigle, Lordy Tugade and Dondon Hontiveros can expect and extra hand in scoring from Custodio. Mike Cortez is already a part of a formidable three-guard combo composed of Racela and Villanueva. Wesley Gonzales and Chris Calaguio remain dependable defensive players off the bench.

And although former MVP Danny Ildefonso and Samigue Eman are in sick bay, the Beermen can hold the fort.

"Our morale is really good and you can see it during our practice. It's actually a long process. With our lineup, we expect to be called favorites again just like last year. We were able to balance the team with our new acquisitions. It's our chance to prove that we're really favorites, "Tanquincen says.

And they really have a good name to live up to on and off the court. The players and coaches are not only expected to do their best on the court but also to act as brand ambassadors in numerous SMBI affairs like the Summer Babad and the Oktoberfest all year-round.

Simply said, the experience of being a San Miguel Beerman is an experience that is Walang Katulad.

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