Well-rested Beermen battle Batang Pier

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June Mar Fajardo
PHOTO BY
BOB DUNGO JR.

San Miguel Beer battles GlobalPort in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup today at the Araneta Coliseum.

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Coming off a three-week break, the Beermen (2-1) hope to join sister team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at the solo fourth spot with a win against Batang Pier (2-2) at 7 p.m.

In the opener, TNT KaTropa (2-2) guns for its third win against the skidding Phoenix (2-5) at 4:15 p.m.

San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria said with the kind of format in the season-ending conference, every game is important and they can’t afford to lose games if they want to land in the top four.

“We really need this win against GlobalPort and we cannot afford to lose again. Each game is very important and it becomes harder,” said Austria, whose team is coming off a 98-104 defeat at the hands of Star last August 4.

The top eight teams after the single round elimination advance to the quarterfinals with the top four squads enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage.

The Beermen’s return gets a big boost as three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo is returning to their fold after a stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon.

“He (Fajardo) will play but let’s see what he can do,” added Austria of his star center.

Fajardo’s return gives import Wendell McKines the much-needed support at the shaded lane. McKines is averaging 22.6 points and 14.3 rebounds per game in the tournament.

GlobalPort is coming off a morale-boosting 102-90 win over Kia last Sunday behind the solid games of import Murphy Holloway, Stanley Pringle and new recruit Mac Baracael.

Batang Pier could also have the services of Terrence Romeo, who had an explosive showing of offensive prowess in the Asia Cup with 17.8 points average, but coach Franz Pumaren said he is doubtful the scoring dynamo would be immediately available to play.

“Let’s see how he feels,” said Pumaren, who drew 29 points and 18 rebounds from Halloway versus Picanto.

Pringle and Baracael had 21 and 13 markers, respectively for GlobalPort in their previous win.

Meanwhile, Glen Rice, Jr. hopes to bounce back from a sub-par performance as he tries to lead KaTropa to a win against the Fuel Masters, who are out to snap a five-game losing streak.

TNT KaTropa is coming off an ugly 73-105 loss to Rain or Shine where Rice scored 19 points but was 6-of-22 from the field including a horrible 2-of-11 stint from beyond the arc.

The KaTropa will have Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy back in their lineup after a stint in the Asia Cup while Matthew Wright will also return to Phoenix, which is trying to end a five-game losing skid.

JOSEF T. RAMOS

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