Beermen, Hotshots eye share of second spot

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June Mar Fajardo
PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO

Grandslam-seeking San Miguel Beer and Star clash in a battle of unbeaten teams in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Governors Cup today at the Araneta Coliseum.

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The Beermen and the Hotshots face off at 7 p.m. with the winner getting a share of the second spot with Meralco (3-0).

TNT KaTropa meets the skidding Alaska in the opener at 4:15 in the afternoon.

Fresh from a 97-91 triumph over KaTropa last Wednesday, San Miguel seeks its third straight win to keep pace with the league leaders.

Beermen head coach Leo Austria expects a tough encounter with the Star, which will be bannered by Malcolm Hill.

“They (Star) are very determined to win each game this conference that’s why they brought in a new import (Hill) just after one game. We have to play our best,” said Austria.

San Miguel had little time to prepare for the Hotshots as the back-to-back champions are coming off a hard-earned win against KaTropa.

“It’s just fine (short rest) although I have to admit that we really had a hard time beating TNT,” he added.

Wendell Mckines had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead San Miguel to victory against Katropa.

He will be pitted against Hill, who replaced Cinmeon Bowers. Hill had 28 points and 11 rebounds in the Star’s 101-92 win over Alaska last week.

“We need to be consistent if you’re facing a team like San Miguel,” said Hotshots mentor Chito Victolero. “You have to play good basketball for the whole game. We learned a lot from that during our semifinals series.

Victolero was referring to their semifinals encounter with the Beermen in the Commissioner’s Cup, which San Miguel won in four games.

Reigning Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo will be again the core of Star’s defense as the six-foot-10 center is coming off a 27-point performance against TNT.

Meanwhile, KaTropa gun for a bounce-back win against the troubled Aces, who are currently at the lower half of the standings with a 0-3 slate and have lost their last 11 games dating back the Commissioner’s Cup.

And Alaska’s long drought worries TNT mentor Nash Racela.

“That makes them a dangerous team because they are hungry for a win. They will do their best to get one, so we can’t relax,” said Racela, whose team is holding a 1-1 win-loss record.

Alaska got a big boost entering the game as Calvin Abueva returns after missing the team’s loss to the Hotshots. He took a break to attend a “family issue” according to Alaska management.

JOSEF T. RAMOS

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