SMB aim for 35th finals appearance

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San Miguel Beer will take on Rain or Shine in Game Four of the best-of-five semifinals today with the aim of making its 35th appearance in the finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

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Game begins at 7:00 p.m.

SMB coach Leo Austria said that he is hopeful that his players would be tenacious not to lose Game Four in order to meet first finalist Alaska in the best-of-seven championship series.

“Arizona [Reid] doesn’t want to lose and I see it in his eyes. The players responded well to the challenge and I’m hoping they sustain their aggression,” Austria said. “I’m very happy that the players are not affected by what happened last Saturday when we collapsed in the endgame.”

Reid exploited Rain or Shine’s flimsy defense in the three-point zone by scoring seven triples finishing with 37 points while playmaker Alex Cabagnot had 26 points and nine assists to put San Miguel Beer one game closer to the finals.

“Alex is also back in the series. I’m hoping he plays well on Wednesday,” Austria added. “June Mar, Arwind and Marcio are also a big factor in our team. I hope they also play well.”

June Mar Fajardo and Marcio Lassiter posted 17 points apiece in Game Three.

On the side of Rain or Shine, import Wendell McKines will try to lead his team in Game Four with the aim of extending the series to a winner-take-all match.

Coach Yeng Guiao of Rain or Shine is hoping that the explosive power of forward Beau Belga would be present on Wednesday after recuperating from a minor foot injury.

“We are hoping that Beau is okay to play,” said Guiao.

The multi-awarded head coach will also rely on Gabe Norwood, Paul Lee, 6’7 Raymond Almazan, JR Quinahan, defensive specialist Jireh Ibañez and guard Jeff Chan, among others.

McKiness’ accurate shooting will be crucial to Rain or Shine if it’s going to dominate the semifinals. He scored 33 points in Game One (95-101), 53 points in Game Two (113-110) and 39 points in Game Three (114-108).

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