Beermen eye finals berth vs Hotshots

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San Miguel Beer goes for the clincher in Game 4 against Star on Friday in their best-of-five semifinal series of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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The Beermen obviously have the momentum entering tonight’s 7 p.m. match and head coach Leo Austria hopes his wards won’t waste the opportunity as he expects a tough match versus the Hotshots.

San Miguel’s Charles Rhodes (left) tries to protect the ball from Star’s Ricardo Ratliffe during their Game 3 encounter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

They have won the last two outings to grab the 2-1 lead and Austria knows the Star will give their all to send the series into a deciding Game 5.

“This is a good opportunity for us [having a 2-1 edge in the series]. It’s a situation that we can’t afford to lose,” said Austria, whose team banked on Marcio Lassiter’s game-winning triple to secure a 111-110 thriller on Wednesday.

“Star will do everything to even the series, but the momentum is on our side. We are going to be ready in Game 4,” he added.

Charles Rhodes and Chris Ross carried San Miguel in Game 3 with an all-around performance and negated another superb performance from Star import Ricardo Ratliffe.

Rhodes finished with 36 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals while Ross tallied a near triple-double performance of 27 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

But it was Lassiter’s last-gasp triple that saved the Beermen in Game 3 to notch their second straight win in the series and spoiled the 44-point, 19-rebound, seven-assist and four-block performance of Ratliffe.

Paul Lee also had a solid game in Game 3 with 21 points to bounce back from a mediocre performance in their 76-77 loss in Game 2. But it was not enough to carry the Hotshots to the victory.

The Star won the series opener, 109-105.

A win by the Beermen will put the remaining original franchise in the league to its 38th finals appearance.

Hotshots mentor Chito Victolero hopes that his players have moved on from a sorry loss in Game 3 and focus on the task at hand to stay alive in the series.

“We cannot dwell on that (loss) anymore. It’s like losing your girlfriend in a breakup. Although it is hard to forget, but you need to move on after that,” said Victolero.

“We are still positive in this series although we’re down by one game. We need to have a sense of urgency in Game 4 because if we lose, it’s over for us. It is going to be a grinding game, so we need a huge effort,” he added.

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