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PBA: Beermen battle Barako today

Purefoods Marc Pingris steals the ball from GlobalPort's Yancy DeOcampo during PBA action at Smart Araneta Coliseum.   Photo by Tony Pionilla

Games Today (Smart Araneta)
3 p.m. – Barako Bull vs San Miguel Beer
5:15 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Talk ‘N Text

Manila, Philippines – Unbeaten San Miguel Beer guns for a share of leadership when it takes on lowly Barako Bull today in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, looking for the momentum needed for its forthcoming titanic clash with the amazing Alaska Aces.

Gametime is at 3 p.m. followed by the 5:15 p.m. encounter between Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text.

Barako Bull is winless so far after two games

The Aces pounded the Meralco Bolts for 41 points Friday for their third consecutive and loomed as the strongest threat to Grand Slam champion Purefoods’ bid to win five straight titles. They face the 2-0 Beermen on Nov. 5 at the Big Dome.

SMB isn’t expected to encounter much trouble with the Energy, who remain struggling following a sudden coaching change that left Koy Banal, until then the assistant to Siot Tanquingcen, groping for the right chemistry to get Barako Bull going.

Getting the ball down low to 6-foot-10 June Mar Fajardo should do half of the damage for the Beermen, with their shooters Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter and Ronald Tubid completing the task if they find their range.

Barako Bull can choose to rough up Fajardo inside through Mick Pennisi, Jondan Salvador and Dave Marcelo, hoping to get the Big Fella out of his game while blocking out the SMB gunners. If the Energy could do that while keeping the scores low, then anything could happen.

Rain or Shine, meanwhile, seeks to extend its winning streak to three against Talk ‘N Text, which absorbed an excruciating loss to the Aces recently courtesy of a buzzer-beating fast break floater by Calvin Abueva.

The 2-1 Elasto Painters, tied with three others at third place, can seize solo spot behind the leaders with a win, while the Tropang Texters, at 1-2, hope to recover lost ground.

Back in full force with their Gilas Pilipinas team members Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Paul Lee and Beau Belga, the EPainters are in for an even-opportunity matchup with the Tropang Texters, who are expected to suit up heart-and-soul leader Jimmy Alapag, who was granted an extended rest after his international tour of duty in the FIBA World Cup and the Incheon Asian Games.

Yeng Guiao, the Rain or Shine coach, favors an aggressive uptempo game while new TNT mentor Jong Uichico leans on a more laidback halfcourt set although he continues to run the dribble-drive offense the Texters had grown accustomed to with their previous coaches.