The San Miguel Beermen: Back where they belong
MANILA, Philippines - I like San Miguel Beer. Actually, I love San Miguel Beer! I grew up with SMB in the early 90s and it stuck with me throughout my high school and college days. SMB was a big part of my adolescent and adult years. I spent time with SMB at least 2-3 times a week. It did not matter that there was school the next day. I spent my afternoons and nights with SMB. SMB was also there to cheer me up when I was down and it made my formative years more enjoyable.Through thick and thin, SMB was always a part of my life.
But let me be clear. I am not an alcoholic and I rarely drink beer, maybe once a month. When I mentioned SMB, I meant the San Miguel Beer/Beermen of the Philippine Basketball Association. The San Miguel franchise is among the winningest teams in the history of the PBA. Their Beermen team name was officially replaced by Petron Blaze Boosters after March 2011.
With the recent news that the "San Miguel Beer" name is making a comeback next conference after being away for 3 years, I decided to write about my favorite memories of SMB.
My Top 5 Moments in San Miguel Beer History:
1. The Beer 3: Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim and Bong Alvarez (1996)
The Beermen were very exciting and enjoyable to watch when Allan "The Triggerman" Caidic, Samboy "The Skywalker" Lim and Bong "Mr. Excitement" Alvarez were all playing together. Unfortunately, that team didn't dominate the league with wins and championships in part due to Samboy Lim and Bong Alvarez missing a lot of games due to injuries.
2. The Two Dannys: Ildefonso and Seigle
Danny Ildefonso joined the Beermen in 1998 while Danny Seigle arrived in 1999. Together, the "Two Dannys" anchored SMB to five trophies in a span of two years. Ildefonso won consecutive MVP awards (2000 and 2001) while Seigle garnered five PBA Finals MVP awards.
3. Renato "Atom Bomb" Agustin 1992 MVP
When Samboy Lim missed a considerable amount of time in 1991-92 due to a gruesome shoulder injury, Ato Agustin received extra playing time. He surely made the most out of them. Agustin had his best statistical season that year and led SMB to a title in the All-Filipino Cup. “Ato” was rewarded the MVP trophy for his efforts.
4. Grand Slam 1989
A grand slam in the PBA is when a team wins all three conferences (All-Filipino, Governor's Cup and Commissioner's Cup) in a single season/year. The Beermen were able to accomplish that exclusive feat in 1989 with Ramon "El Presidente" Fernandez, Samboy Lim, Alvin "Robocop" Teng and Hector "The Director" Calma. Only three teams have ever won a grand slam in PBA history (Crispa, SMB and Alaska).
5. Asian Games 1994
The PBA decided to send San Miguel Beer as the team to represent Philippines in the 1994 Asian Games in Japan after the Beermen won the All-Filipino Cup. SMB was unable to field their full roster due to injuries so other pro players like Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Johnny Abarrientos and Rey Evangelista were added to the team. Kenneth Duremdes and Marlou Aquino were also included from the amateur ranks. The jumbled addition of players did not work for the Philippines because SMB only managed a 4th place finish in Japan.