Defending champion San Miguel Beer (SMB) and Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) aim for back-to-back wins when they face separate rivals today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen, who beat GlobalPort 97-86 on Saturday in Davao City, will play against the Meralco Bolts in the second game at 7 p.m. The Road Warriors under coach Boyet Fernandez will face the Barako Bull Energy in the first game at 4:15 p.m.
“We cannot take them [Meralco] for granted because they made a lot of improvements this season and they also went to US for training,” SMB coach Leo Austria told The Manila Times on Tuesday in a phone interview. “We just have to play our very best offensively and defensively.”
In his first game this season against the Batang Pier, two-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo posted 21 points and 17 rebounds plus three blocks. He is expected to clash against returning 6’7 Rabeh Al-Hussaini of Meralco in the shaded lane.
The Road Warriors, coming off a 90-86 win over Blackwater are expected to depend on Paul Asi Taulava, Jonas Villanueva, guard Mac Car¬dona, Simon Enciso and forward Sean Anthony in their battle against Barako Bull Energy.
Rain or Shine is currently on top of the team standings with 2-0 win-loss record.