SAN Miguel Beer rides the momentum of last Friday’s victory as it takes on Magnolia in the resumption of their PBA Philippine Cup championship duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen and the Hotshots meet at 6:30 p.m. in Game 3 of their best-of-7 titular showdown for the prestigious kickoff conference.
Knowing full well the difficulty, much more the danger of falling deep in a hole, the Beermen bounced back from Game 1 loss and crushed the Hotshots, 108-101, to even the series at one game apiece.
“This is what we’re trying to avoid na maging 0-2,” said SMB coach Leo Austria after the victory which came at the heels of 99-94 loss in Game 1 last May 1.
“What we need was to show some energy and that’s it,” added Austria.
Indeed, the Beermen showed so much energy that after sizing up the Hotshots in the first half, they pulled away for good in the second half on the way to the victory.
The Hotshots’ vaunted defense – which they used to win Game 1 — was now distressingly missing as evidenced by the Beermen’s awesome offensive that saw seven of them finishing in double figures.
June Mar Fajardo, Alex Cabagnot, Chriss Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santo, Terrence Romeo and Christian Standhardinger finished with 13 points or more in a sheer show of their impressive marksmanship.
The win was almost spoiled by the ejection of Romeo on two consecutive technical fouls in the last 6:23 minutes of the game, with the Beermen enjoying a 96-80 lead.
Romeo still finished with 13 points before his ejection which came after his outburst against the referees.
“We will take that positively because Romeo is really a warrior. He wants to win very badly,” said Austria of the incident.
The Beermen, who are gunning for a record fifth straight title in the prestigious conference, now enter the game carrying big momentum as they and the Hotshots break the tie.
“This will become an interesting game, because it boils down to a best-of-five,” said Austria. “But it’s not easy because we know Magnolia will come back hard.”
San Miguel and Magnolia are meeting for the sixth time in the All-Filipino conference, the crown jewel that every team is dying to win every season.
The Hotshots actually had good offensive as well as five of them also scored in double digits, with Ian Sangalang finishing with a game-high 18 points, followed by Jalalon who tallied 15 points.