Reigning champion San Miguel Beermen will take on the Rain or Shine Elasto Paintmasters today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Beermen and the Elasto Paintmasters, both undefeated in the first two games, will clash at 7 p.m. after the 4:15 pm opening game between the Meralco Bolts and the still winless Blackwater Elite.
After beating GlobalPort (97-86) and Meralco (101-85) last week, San Miguel Beer is hoping to remain unbeaten in three games. The 6’10 June Mar Fajardo is expected lead the Beermen anew against Rain or Shine.
In their last two games, Fajardo posted 21 points plus 17 rebounds and three blocks against GlobalPort and 14 points plus 13 rebounds against Meralco.
Besides Fajardo, the Beermen are also expected to lean on the shooting prowess of point guard Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Ronald Tubid, Chris Ross, Ryan Arana, and Chris Lutz as well as big men 6’8 Jay-R Reyes, Gabby Espinas, 6’8 Yancy De Ocampo and Arwind Santos.
“Until now, the coaching staff and I are still undecided if we’re going to put a lot of pressure on June Mar or play defensively tough on their shooters. We cannot get both, so we have to sacrifice something. I guess, we will pressure June Mar,” Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Tuesday.
The Elasto Paintmasters are planning to pit against Fajardo the 6’7 center Raymond Almazan, the 6’5 Beau Belga, and the 6’6 Jay-R Quinahan. “We cannot play June Mar one-on-one defensively. We have to double-team him. There is no problem about our offense though,” said Guiao.
The Elasto Paintmasters previously beat the Star Hotshots and the Mahindra Enforcers.
Meralco, meanwhile, will try to post its first win when it takes on Blackwater.