Reigning champion San Miguel Beer shoots for a commanding 3-0 advantage against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in Game 3 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 43 Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals series on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The game is set 7 p.m.
After seizing Game 2 via 104-102 come-from-behind overtime win on Sunday, San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria believes the third game against the Gin Kings would never be the same like the previous games in the series. San Miguel Beer blasted Ginebra in Game 1 (102-90).
“Game 3 is very important for us that’s why we’re going to prepare very hard. I know they will come out really hard and with intensity and a lot of energy. Each game turns out very hard but that’s semifinals,” said Austria, who is going to rely on Game 2 hero Marcio Lassiter, June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos.
Lassiter, who hit the game-winning follow up off a Fajardo miss lay-up in Game 2, also shared the same sentiments.
“It will be physical game again and real intense because both teams want to win Game 3 so it won’t be so easy. We have to come out with more hunger and ready to fight again,” said Lassiter, who finished with 16 of his 25 points in the last and extension period.
Besides Lassiter, the four-time Most Valuable Player Fajardo regained his dominating form by piling up 33 points along with 19 rebounds and two blocks to recover from a nine-point and seven-rebound performance in Game 1.
The Beermen, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage as the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals, finished the elimination with an 8-3 win-loss record and booted out No. 8 TNT KaTropa in the quarterfinals.
Seven-foot Greg Slaughter was the missing link in Ginebra’s first two games in the series, and the Gin Kings’ “great equalizer” remains doubtful starter in Game 3. Ginebra coach Tim Cone almost found a solution to Slaughter absence as the unheralded Prince Caperal stepped up in the frontline.
Caperal scattered a career-high 26 points and eight rebounds but his big effort turned to waste after the loss. But the 6’7 former Arellano University chief stays optimistic of Ginebra’s chances of getting back to the series despite being down 0-2.
Japeth Aguilar, who led the Gin Kings in Game 2 with 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists, is expected to give his best again in Game 3.
A victory by the Kings is going to narrow the series deficit, but a loss is going to be fatal since it will give them a hard time recovering from a 0-3 disadvantage.