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SMB begins Grand Slam bid vs Phoenix

Last two conferences champion San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa open up their campaign in Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup tonight when they face their respective foes at the Araneta Coliseum.

After getting some exposures in the recently concluded East Asia Super League Terrific 12 Invitational Tournament in Macau, the Beermen begin their quest of winning a grand slam this season as they collide with Phoenix Pulse at 7 p.m.

Import Dez Wells has showcased his athleticism and spectacular scoring ways during the Macau tourney. He was described by San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria as the little version of Chris McCullough who guided them to last conference’s Commissioner’s Cup crown conquest.

Wells will be joining June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, Chris Ross and Arwind Santos to lead the five-time Philippine Cup champion in their first game.

The Fuel Masters, for their part, are hoping to bounce back from a first game defeat to Northern Luzon Expressway (116-123) as they play the Beermen.


But coach Louie Alas said his Phoenix team should play several notches higher defensively to have a strong chance of upsetting the Beermen.

“We have to play several notches higher of consistent defense. Last time we gave up 52 percent in field goal shooting and that’s very alarming,” said Alas, referring to their loss to the Road Warriors. “We cannot play them in a shootout.”

Import Eugene Phelps led Phoenix Pulse (0-1 win-loss record) with 38 points and 10 rebounds while returning Matthew Wright had 24 points in that game against the Road Warriors last Saturday.

Meanwhile, last conference finalist TNT clashes with Blackwater in the first game at 4:30 p.m.

KJ McDaniels, the former Houston Rockets player, who also played for the KaTropa during the Terrific 12 competition, will be leading the charge for TNT along with Jayson Castro, Don Trollano, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy.

But the Elite under the tutelage of coach Aries Dimaunahan are determined to give TNT a good fight in their first game.

The 2013 Best Import Marqus Blakely, Mac Belo and rookie Bobby Ray Parks Jr. will lead Blackwater.

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