San Miguel Beer finds its hands full when it battles Ryukyu Golden Kings in the East Asia Super League Champions Week on Thursday at the Brex Arena Utsunomiya.
The showdown between the reigning Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup champion and the Golden Kings is set at 6:30 p.m. (Manila time), just after the curtain raiser between Seoul SK Knights and recent Manila visitor Bay Area Dragons.
Two very familiar faces will be at the Golden Kings’ side in Gilas Pilipinas pool member Carl Tamayo and PBA three-time Best Import Allen Durham.
The match serves as the debut of the 6-foot-7 Tamayo with Ryukyu, which recently signed him to a lucrative three-year contract after playing two seasons with University of the Philippines.
“It’s my first pro debut in the EASL and I’m very excited,” said the 22-year-old Filipino when the Golden Kings presented him during a media conference.
“I really prepared myself for this moment. I’m very happy to play with my teammates and represent the Kings.”
Durham, who previously played for the Meralco Bolts, is one of three imports officially in the lineup of the Golden Kings along with Josh Duncan and Jack Cooley.
The 34-year-old, do-it-all Durham was in the country a week ago to visit his former teammates and watch a game of Meralco against TNT in the Governors’ Cup.
San Miguel meanwhile, will be reinforced by Cameron Clark and Jessie Govan.
Six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, fresh from their stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, banner the local side of the Beermen, who also lined up high-scoring guard Terrence Romeo.
The three-time PBA scoring king has not suited up for San Miguel in the ongoing conference due to a back injury but will finally break in by coach Jorge Gallent.
The debut game of TNT against Japan B. League champion Utsunomiya Brex is being played as off press time.