Defending champion San Miguel Beer are fixing its sight on entering the next round and a fifth straight win when it takes on GlobalPort in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup today at the Araneta Coliseum.
Unbeaten in their first four games, the Beermen and the Batang Pier clash at 7 p.m. right after the opening tussle between Kia (1-4) and Meralco (1-3) at 4:30 p.m.
San Miguel, which is coming off a 109-98 win over NLEX, expects a tough battle against GlobalPort that is riding the momentum of a two-game run.
“We are preparing very well against GlobalPort and we really respect them because of their very good line up,” said Austria.
“They are complete in every position. They have (Kelly) Nabong whom I think he is the league’s No. 1 rebounder today while Sean Anthony is also playing well and (Stanley) Pringle is really taking over as the No. 1 point guard in the league. He (Pringle) is really the leader of that team,” he added.
Four-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos who combined for 51 points and 29 rebounds in their win over the Road Warriors are expected to lead the Beermen once more against Batang Pier.
“We really need to prepare against their relentless defense and physicality,” said Austria.
The Batang Pier have won their last two matches after starting the conference with 0-2 record. Pringle, Anthony and Nabong will lead the charge of the wards of coach Pido Jarencio.
Pringle is averaging 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and five assists per game while Nabong, a free-agent pick up, is contributing 12.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per contest. Anthony is averaging 18.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists in the tournament.
The Picanto, on the other hand, are keen to notch a follow up victory after their 98-94 upset win against Rain or Shine and the skidding Bolts.
Kia is still at the cellar with 1-4 card while Meralco, after winning its opening game, has dropped its last three for a 1-3 slate.
Meanwhile, Kia’s Eric Camson, Raymond Almazan of Rain or Shine and NLEX’s Michael Miranda were suspended one game each by the league.
On top of the one game suspension, Camson was fined P30,000 and Alamazan P20,000 after figuring in a fight in their match won by the Picanto, 98-94.
Miranda was also fined P20,000 for kicking San Miguel Beer guard Chris Ross in the groin in their game last Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome. The Beermen won that match, 109-98.
The three players are also required to fulfill a community service arranged by the league for the erring players.