• SMB faces Star in Game 1 of semis

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    San Miguel Beer import Charles Rhodes scores against the GlobalPort Batang Pier during the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on June 2.
    PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO

    Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer takes on the Star Hotshots in Game 1 of the best-of-five semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup today at the Araneta Coliseum.

    Game begins at 5 p.m.

    The Beermen finished the elimination round with a 9-2 win-loss record for No.2, and a twice-to-beat bonus. SMB routed No. 7 Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters 115-96 in the quarterfinals, becoming the first team to enter the semifinals.

    San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria told his players to be prepared against a determined Star Hotshots squad.

    “They become a better team after the arrival of import Ricardo Rattliffe and we cannot take them lightly. We know that they also have talented local players,” Austria told The Manila Times in a phone interview.

    “I also told my players the importance of winning Game 1. It is better that they are the ones who are adjusting and not us in this series that is why we have to win on Saturday.”

    San Miguel Beer import Charles Rhodes, who is averaging 27.1 points and 10.5 rebounds in the past 12 games, is going to lead the Beermen’s semifinals campaign with the help of three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter, among others.

    Meanwhile, Chito Victolero told his players to keep the faith and believe in their system.

    “We need to be mentally tough, emotionally composed and physically prepared for this tough series. We know they have an advantage in many things but our desire, effort and chemistry on both ends will help us a lot to compete and hopefully win the series,” said Victolero.

    “We just need to believe with the system and on each other throughout the series. Staying positive and staying together will make us a better team,” he added.

    The No. 3 Hotshots ended the elimination with a 9-2 record. They secured a semis berth after sweeping the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in two games (118-82 and 84-69) in their best-of-three quarterfinals affair.

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