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PBA: Bring out the nails

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Games Today
(Cuneta Astrodome)
4:15 p.m. – San Miguel vs Mahindra
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs NLEX

Peaking early is something that Chris Ross doesn’t want to see from the unbeaten San Miguel Beermen as they go for their fourth straight win today against the Mahindra Floodbuster in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Playing beautiful music after the three games, the Beermen are looking like the team that won the Philippine Cup title last month with their precise offense and strong defensive effort. They look to continue that form in the 4:15 p.m. match with the struggling Floodbuster.

However, Ross is hoping that San Miguel would be in better form late in the conference as they aim at capturing the championship in the midseason conference.

“I hope that’s true,” Ross said when a scribe asked if San Miguel has yet to display its full potential following its 103-97 win over Star last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“We really don’t want to peak in the first three games of the conference, we want to peak later on in the eliminations and into the playoffs,” added the two-time Philippine Cup Finals Most Valuable Player.

Import Charles Rhodes may have finally displayed his dominance after going for 29 points and 10 rebounds against the Hotshots. And that could spell bad news for the rest Coach Leo Austria is also trying to give significant minutes to his reserves in order to compliment the core led by Ross, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos. Third-string guard Brian Heruela benefited in the big exposure and scored eight points against the Hotshots.

“Charles (Rhodes) is getting acclimated, coaches are still trying to find ways to use everybody and give the second group some confidence,” Ross said. “Hopefully with these next two games that we have this week will be good for us going to the All-Star break with our rotations and trying to get used to each other again and Charles getting used to us.”

Facing Mahindra, which is struggling at 1-5, appears to look like a breather for San Miguel ahead of its big match with Rain or Shine on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Floodbuster are in dire need of victories in order to keep themselves in the hunt for the playoffs later in the elims.

Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel battles winless NLEX in the main game at 7 p.m. with its eyes on getting its third straight win following an April Fools Day loss to Phoenix in Davao City.

The Gin Kings of coach Tim Cone are seeing action for the first time since a 113-98 triumph over the Hotshots last April 9 highlighted by a 30-point performance by import Justin Brownlee.

Cone expressed confidence that the win over his former team can boost the title chances of Ginebra despite having to parade Brownlee, the smallest import this conference at 6-foot-5.

“Beating an elite team that Star has become and playing with a smaller import just sends a good message to us that it can be done, we can compete this conference,” Cone said.

But Ginebra is also wary of the possible upset ax from NLEX, which has lost all of its six games this conference and the last 10 dating back to the Philippine Cup.

Road Warriors coach Yeng Guiao jokingly said that he is willing to be nailed to the cross just to end the slump. However, it may take more than such repentance for the team to get out of that deep hole.

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