Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer and Star collide in crucial Game 3 of their critical best-of-five semifinals series of Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is at 7 p.m. with the winner taking a 2-1 series lead.
The Beermen tied the series with a 77-76 squeaker in Game 2 last Monday and head coach Leo Austria hopes his wards can duplicate their defensive effort against the Hotshots.
“We are hoping that we have the momentum now going to Game 3. Our defense limited them to only 76 points compared to our first game last Saturday, where we gave up 100 points,” said Austria, who lost Game 1, 105-109.
“If we can’t limit their import Ricardo (Ratliffe), we just have to limit their local players like Allein Maliksi and Mark Barroca,” added Austria.
After exploding for 26 points in Game 1, Maliksi was silenced in the next game and finished with just five markers.
San Miguel managed to win Game 2 despite a so-so performance form import Charles Rhodes, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds but was slowed down by foul trouble in the match.
Star head coach Chito Victolero, meanwhile, remains positive despite the loss.
“We just have to stay competitive and positive. I’m not frustrated of what happened last game because I believe we can do better in Game 3,” said Victolero.
“We have to stick to our game plan in Game 3 although we made some minor adjustments offensively and defensively in our practice,” he added.
Ratliffe had a solid outing for the Hotshots with 25 points and 35 rebounds while rookie Jio Jalalon added 18 points in Game 2 but the lack of support was evident particularly from Paul Lee.
Lee, who missed the potential game-winner, was 1-of-8 from the field and finished with only three markers.