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PBA: SMB, Star part ways

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m, – Alaska vs TNT KaTropa
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Star

The San Miguel Beermen will face another formidable opponent in the Star Hotshots as they resume their Grand Slam bid today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Two days removed from a hard-fought victory over Commissioner’s Cup Finals victim TNT KaTropa, the Beermen brace for another dogfight, this time against the fellow unbeaten Hotshots in the match scheduled at 7 p.m.

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San Miguel is in no rush to quickly display its championship pedigree, even after proving such reputation with a 97-91 triumph over TNT behind reigning three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, import Wendell McKines and Commissioner’s Cup Best Player Chris Ross.

Fajardo scored 27 points, McKines had 22 points, nine rebounds and two blocks and Ross made up for missing all of his eight shots with 10 assists and eight rebounds.

“It’s a game-by-game basis for us and try to win as many games in the eliminations,” said Ross. “And when the playoffs come, we’ll talk about that obstacle when we get there. We’re 2-0 now, we’re looking at 3-0 (today).”

Added McKines: “You everybody’s thinking about the grandslam, grandslam, grandslam, I mean, we want to take baby steps and one day at a time.”

Star hopes to show at this point of the season-ending conference that it is one of San Miguel’s major obstacle in the triple crown chase. The Hotshots likewise opened the tourney with two straight wins, including last week’s 101-92 mastery of the struggling Alaska Aces.

Import Malcolm Hill showed veteran poise despite making his pro debut at 21 years old by firing 28 points to give Star the win since replacing Cinmeon Bowers.

Meanwhile, TNT aims to redeem itself in the 4:15 p.m. opener as it plays Alaska, which will try to end its 11-game losing skid dating back to the Commissioner’s Cup.

TNT is not taking its chances against an Alaska team hungry to finally snap its miserable run of form with import Michael Craig and Jayson Castro expected to lead the charge.

“Alaska at this point, they’re a tough team to play,” said KaTropa coach Nash Racela. “Alam namin na naghahanap sila ng panalo. They’ll do everything they could to break that losing streak, so mahirap silang kalaban ngayon.”