San Miguel looks to make good use of the momentum gained from its first victory over the weekend when it collides with NLEX today in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Fresh from beating the erstwhile unbeaten Meralco Bolts last Saturday in Cagayan de Oro City, the Beermen try to keep their winning form as they face the Road Warriors in the first game at 4:15 p.m.
The Beermen barged into the win column behind new import Arizona Reid, who collected 29 points and 12 rebounds in routing the Bolts, 102-86.
Reid had a triumphant debut after the two-time Best Import winner came in to replace the ineffective Ronald Roberts.
Thankfully for the ex-Rain or Shine reinforcement, reigning Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo provided ample support finishing with 21 points and 22 rebounds.
Against NLEX, San Miguel will deal with the frontline duo of ex-NBA cager Al Thornton and Asi Taulava, who plans to give Fajardo a difficult time in the shaded lane.
“We have to play solid defense because of their tall frontline, and execute our offense. It’s going to be tough but we’re improving as a team with AZ (Reid),” said SMB mentor Leo Austria.
Aside from Reid and Fajardo, SMB will also rely on other mainstays on forwards Arwind Santos and Chris Lutz, as well as guards Marcio Lassiter, Ronald Tubid and Alex Cabagnot.
NLEX is coming off a heartbreaking 98-96 loss to sister team Talk ‘N Text last Friday after the Tropang Texters’ Jayson Castro scored a buzzer-beating jumper.
The Road Warriors fought gallantly on that game, erasing a 29-point second quarter deficit to tie the game in the dying seconds.
The 6-foot-8 Thornton had 37 points in that contest, but got little support from his local teammates as Jonas Villanueva scored 13 points off the bench. Aldrech Ramos contributed 10 markers.
In the second game, Barako Bull clashes with Alaska at 7 p.m. with the Energy out to end a two-game skid.
After a 3-0 start, Barako lost its next two games to Talk ‘N Text (80-75) and Globalport (99-81).
Alaska is also coming off a loss, bowing to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 99-89, last Friday.
In that game, new import Damion James posted 28 points and 16 rebounds for the Aces in a losing effort.