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PBA: Beermen brace for E-Painters’ fightback

Rain Or Shine's Wendell McKines and SMB's June Mar Fajardo battle for the rebound during the 1st game of their best of five series in the semi finals of the PBA Governors' Cup, July 2, 2015 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Photo by Ernie U. SarmientoGame Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5 p.m. – San Miguel vs Rain or Shine

San Miguel Beer expects more physicality from Rain or Shine as it goes for a 2-0 lead today in the resumption of their best-of-five semifinal series in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen stole Thursday’s series opener when they came back from a 24-point first half deficit on their way to stunning the Elasto Painters, 101-95.

That moved SMB two wins shy of earning a return trip to the finals, and Beermen Coach Leo Austria wants nothing more than to see his team capitalize on the opportunity.

Beermen stars June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos are expecting ROS to intensify its ruggedness in the 5 p.m. match.

“We expect that next game,” said Fajardo, who overcame a sprained ankle and the double and triple teams implemented by ROS in the first half.

“Knowing a team like Rain or Shine, it will be more physical. We know na babalik yan. Pero nasa amin ang momentum after winning Game 1. Kaya nasa amin na kung paano aalagaan,” Santos said.

Rain or Shine led 43-19 early in the second quarter behind an all-around effort by import Wendell McKines.

SMB, however, refused to roll over and die and was able to launch a comeback behind a well-timed switch from man-to-man to zone defense that contained McKines in the paint.

The Beermen’s shooting also sizzled in the second half, with Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter, who had 22 and 15 points, respectively, combining for 7-of-13 triples.

San Miguel went 10-of-21 from the field in the third quarter where it outscored ROS, 34-19, after trailing 60-46 at halftime.

Austria, though, is looking for more adjustment, saying: “We’re surprised with their strong start. We have to find ways in defending their import. Good thing the zone clicked, but they’ll adjust to that, so we have to adjust too with our man-to-man defense.”

While SMB’s shooting and defense worked to near-perfection, ROS Coach Yeng Guiao was quick to rue the missed opportunity of drawing first blood in the series.

The Elasto Painters made just 11-of-45 triples while failing to make quick adjustments against the Beermen’s zone.

“We got our good looks. The problem was our usual percentage, our shooters were not able to make the three-point shots,” said Guiao.

“To simplify it, when we got zoned, we’re not able to break down the ‘zone D’ with our three-point shooting. We made only 11 (threes). If we would have made two or three, we would have slowed them down and stop their momentum.”

“But the good side to this is that we did not think we could lead them by 20-plus points. They had to shift to a zone just to catch up. So next time, we would be better prepared. We still feel confident,” added Guiao.

Guiao, however, remains confident that his team can bounce back from its embarrassing defeat.

“It’s not about getting embarrassed, or thinking of that game in that matter,” said Guiao. “The best teams and the best coaches lose in different ways. It really happens. Better teams have lost in worst ways.