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NLEX takes first crack at SMB side missing Fajardo, Standhardinger

NLEX takes first crack at SMB side missing Fajardo, Standhardinger

NLEX tries to pounce on a San Miguel Beer team that is without two of its best big men as they tangle on Saturday in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Road Warriors will try to add to their growing list of victims the debuting Beermen, who will be without four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and reliable back-up Christian Standhardinger in the 6:45 p.m. Petron Saturday Special.

Fajardo is out approximately two months as he recuperates from a shin injury, while Standhardinger yet has yet to return from the 18th Asian Games campaign in Jakarta.

In their absence, the Beermen still remain a formidable squad with veterans Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter expected to take the cudgels for the champion unit.

They are also parading two-time Best Import AZ Reid, who steered the franchise to the championship of the same season-ending conference three years ago.

Acting coach Jojo Lastimosa, who will continue to hold the fort for the Road Warriors with head coach Yeng Guiao still with the national squad, said he loves the challenge of playing against a talented team like the Beermen.

“I like to go up against champion teams,” he said.

Lastimosa has so far done a god job calling the shots for NLEX, steering the team to a 3-1 start, including a 116-104 win over Columbian Dyip the last time that saw import Aaron Fuller going for 35 points and 21 rebounds filling in for the injured Olu Ashaolu.

The Road Warriors’ single loss so far had been inflicted by Magnolia Pambansang Manok, 102-72, which plays in the 4:30 curtain raiser against winless NorthPort.

The Hotshots (1-0) is still without national team player Paul Lee, but the Batang Pier (0-2) are far worse with Philippine team stalwart Stanley Pringle and injured Jeric Teng not suiting up.

Do-it-all big man Sean Anthony is also a game-time decision for NorthPort after missing the first two games with a calf injury.