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Beermen brace for tough battle vs. defending Terrific 12 champions Ryukyu

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Romeo shines for SMB (0:22)

Terrence Romeo is confident of the San Miguel Beermen's chances against the defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings Thursday at the East Asia Super League Terrific 12. (0:22)

MACAU -- Terrence Romeo is confident that San Miguel Beer can overcome their next hurdle by being locked in defensively when they clash with defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings, on Thursday in the 2019 East Asia Super League Terrific 12.

The Golden Kings swept the Terrific 12 edition in 2018, winning by an average margin of 20.3 points and knocking off China's Guangzhou Long Lions in the knockout Finals.

But Romeo believes anything is possible even though the Beermen will miss five-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter and possibly Alex Cabagnot for the second straight time in the tournament.

"We simply need to have the same mentality. And the need to really focus well on our defense and be able to execute our play against Japan," Romeo told ESPN5 shortly after their practice at the Tap Seac Stadium.

A win by San Miguel would mean gaining safe passage to the knockout semifinals, which will be held on Saturday. The one-game Finals is scheduled on Sunday.

Romeo has not missed a beat even after taking a two-week break since San Miguel captured the 2019 Commissioner's Cup crown last month.

The three-time PBA Scoring champion banged three triples in the final quarter to spark San Miguel's fiery windup en route to a 90-76 win over the Shenzhen Aviators on opening day.

Romeo wound up with 17 points, lacing his performance with four three-point shots to serve as a solid backup to import Dez Wells' 29.

Fajardo had light shooting before undergoing therapy on his injured ankle, which he sustained in the 2019 FIBA World Cup while with Gilas.

Meanwhile, Austria expects the Japanese pro ballclub to be in its element in its bid to extend its reign in the tournament.

"What I've heard is that this Japanese team is very disciplined, but we will be watching their game to see what other adjustments we can make," shared Austria.

The Golden Kings make their debut on Wednesday against the Aviators (0-1).

Although Cabagnot joined practice, Austria said the left-handed veteran guard will still be a game-time decision. The veteran guard missed the Beermen's win against Shenzhen due to the flu.