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PBA: MARQUEE DUEL

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Games Today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:30 p.m. – Mahindra vs Phoenix
6:45 p.m. – San Miguel vs Ginebra

San Miguel battles Ginebra.

The San Miguel Beermen enter the difficult phase of their bid for a second straight title beginning with a familiar foe in Barangay Ginebra San Miguel today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Two days removed from encountering little trouble against the NLEX Road Warriors, the Beermen hope to continue their mastery against the crowd-favorite Ginebra squad in the second game set at 6:45 p.m.

It will be the first game of both teams since San Miguel’s win over Ginebra in the Philippine Cup finals, giving the Beermen a three-peat in the league’s premier conference.

And it seems that San Miguel is still on pace to earn a return trip to the finals after winning six of its first seven games in the midseason conference, including Friday’s 114-108 victory over NLEX at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Despite coming off a stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the SEABA Championship, June Mar Fajardo played and had a hand in the Beermen’s victory that earned them a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

But coach Leo Austria is bracing a tough schedule against Ginebra and later against Alaska, pointing out his team’s defensive effort against NLEX.

“Defensively, we gave up 108 points and that’s a lot, so we cannot give up that kind of points going into the next games,” Austria said.

Import Charles Rhodes, who erupted for 37 points, joins Fajardo in leading the San Miguel team also composed of Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot.

Ginebra is eager to redeem itself after blowing a 16-point lead in losing 118-112 to Rain or Shine also last Friday.

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