Defending champion San Miguel Beer shoots for a commanding 3-1 lead against Magnolia at 7 p.m. tonight in Game 4 of the best-of-seven finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 43 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
SMB coach Leo Austria is hoping his wards would sustain their aggression after the Beermen routed the Hotshots 111-87 in Game 3 last Easter Sunday. The Beermen also won Game 2, 92-77, before the Holy Week break.
“Because of our second unit, we matched their energy in Game 3. If they (second unit) will keep on stepping up every game, I’m confident we can win,” said Austria. “But this is a game of adjustments and they (Magnolia) will study what we’re going to do in the next game.”
The Beermen leaned on second unit players Gabby Espinas and Brian Heruela in Game 3 that allowed Austria to provide a breather to his starters headed by June Mar Fajardo in the last period. Espinas and Heruela scored nine and 11 points, respectively, in that game.
“And we are not done yet because we still need two wins to get the championship. There are a lot of things that will happen because they don’t want to be down 1-3. It is hard to recover but the possibility is still there, so we have to be ready for their adjustments,” he added.
Fajardo, who scored 21 points and 17 rebounds in Game 3, shared the same view as Austria’s.
“I hope we keep playing well next game. I think we need to prepare seriously and keep our focus because the other team will not let that happen again,” said Fajardo, referring to the Magnolia’s huge deficit in Game 3. “We all know that this is a tough series.”
Hotshots coach Chito Victolero said they would do everything to tie the series to 2-2.
“I didn’t expect the Beermen would play that way. We will try to find ways how to win in this series,” said Victolero, who defended Ian Sangalang’s subpar performance of six points and five rebounds in Game 3. “He was just off that night and I’m sure he will bounce back. Defensively, he played okay against Fajardo.”
Sangalang had an average of 20 points and seven rebounds in the first two games of the finals.
“All of us need to step up. We need to find ways how to play consistent 48 minutes of basketball that’s what we need to address on my players,” added Victolero, who will rely on Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Peter June Simon.
“We need to find ways how to contain the second group too.”
The Hotshots scored a close 105-103 come-from-behind win vs SMB in Game 1 last March 23.
GlobalPort part ways with Romeo
GlobalPort has traded its long time top scorer Terrence Romeo to TNT KaTropa along with Yousef Taha for power forward Moala Tautuaa plus the TNT’s 2020 first round pick and 2021 second round pick, according to the league’s official website on Tuesday.
The imminent trade even became more pronounced last March 6 after the shouting match between Romeo and GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio during the Batang Pier vs Magnolia match, which the former lost.
Romeo posted an average of 18.4 points and 5.1 assists in nine games last Governors’ Cup.
Meanwhile, Kia will be renamed Columbian Dyip for the upcoming Commissioner’s Cup after the brand was bought by the Ayala Group of Companies.