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PBA: Beermen clash with Kings


Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Phoenix
6:45 p.m. – San Miguel vs Ginebra

Revenge is not the main focus of league-leader San Miguel when it battles sister team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for the first time since their Governors’ Cup semifinal showdown today in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone said the defending champion Beermen will play with vengeance on their mind after the crowd-favorite squad won their semis duel in five full games, on its way to ending an eight-year title drought.

San Miguel mentor Leo Austria mentioned that he and his team’s goal entering the 6:45 p.m. is to raise their game to another level before the playoffs begin.

“We’re not thinking of revenge, what we want to think is we have to play well in order to win, especially against Ginebra,” said Austria.

The Beermen are on the top of the standings with a 6-1 record after winning four straight games, the last two by a combined margin of 40 points.

Last Friday, San Miguel kept its hot streak by mauling Blackwater, 118-93, in a contest that saw the Beermen limited the Elite’s prized rookie Mac Belo to just four points.

June Mar Fajardo was unstoppable as usual, posting 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists but got significant contributions from Gabby Espinas with 22 points and Alex Cabagnot with 14 despite wearing a black mask to protect his injured nose.
Fajardo, however, said that the Beermen are still far from the team they want to envision.

“Siguro hindi pa maayos yung depensa namin, yung communication namin di pa ganun kaayos ba, so kailangan pa naming iimprove pa,” Fajardo said.

Ginebra, tied for seventh to ninth with Star and Alaska at 3-3, plays for the first time since its Christmas Day win over Star at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

While Ginebra has the advantage as far as rest is concern, Austria feels his team can make up for the short preparation and pull off a win.

Rain or Shine and Phoenix meet in the first game at 4:30 p.m., with both teams looking for a victory to boost their respective bids for a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs.

The Elasto Painters are tied at 4-2 with TNT KaTropa, which was playing NLEX at presstime in Angeles City, Pampanga, while the Fuel Masters are at 4-3, tied for fourth with the Globalport Batang Pier.