Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Meralco
Meralco Coach Norman Black hopes to get the same kind of performance from his players as they battle No. 2 San Miguel Beermen in a do-or-die quarterfinal match today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Hardly given a chance to beat powerhouse SMB last Saturday, the Bolts made heads turn by pulling off a stunning 106-99 win that forced tonight’s 7 p.m. encounter.
The winner earns a spot in the best-of-five semifinals against Rain or Shine.
“What we got from the team (in the first game) is exactly what we needed,” said Black, who is looking to steer Meralco to its second straight semifinal appearance in his first season since being transferred from sister team Talk ’N Text.
As for San Miguel, the loss brought back harrowing memories of last season’s disappointing exit in the Commissioner’s Cup when the Beermen blew a twice-to-beat advantage against the Air21 Express in the quarterfinals.
But SMB Coach Leo Austria, whose team lost to Meralco for the second time this conference, feels the Beermen won’t be out-of-sync this time.
“Fortunately for us, we have the twice-to-beat advantage. Wala naman gaanong adjustment, importante lang is we have to improve our defense and our execution,” said Austria.
For Meralco to complete its mission, import Andre Emmett, Jared Dillinger and Kelly Nabong will have to deliver anew.
Emmett had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Dillinger contributed 21 points while Nabong provided the spark off the bench with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Mike Cortez was also impressive against SMB with nine assists while Hugnatan led a 7-0 windup with a three-pointer that broke a 99-all deadlock with 2:47 left to play.