A WELL-rested San Miguel Beer side shoots for its fourth straight win and regain a share of the lead as it battles a vastly-improved GlobalPort side in the PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen have won their last three games, including a 90-74 thumping of the skidding Kia Motors last week behind June Mar Fajardo’s career-high 36 points and 17 rebounds.
[See KIA simply has no answer for San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo]
GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio recognizes the need to make sure Fajardo won’t get the touches in the paint since the reigning PBA Most Valuable Player could score easily anytime he’s at the post.
“Si June Mar, alam naman natin, No. 1 player na ’yan sa Pilipinas saka MVP yan, so kami, sa big men namin, kailangan namin ng double effort sa kanya, though may hinanda naman kaming game plan for him,” Jarencio told Spin.ph on the eve of their 4:15 p.m. game against the Beermen.
The Batang Pier are tied for seventh to eighth spots with the Meralco Bolts at 4-4. GlobalPort fell short in its fourth quarter rally against Alaska and dropped an 87-84 loss on Saturday in a road game in Cagayan de Oro City.
[See Alaska gets back on track with thrilling win over GlobalPort in Cagayan de Oro]
Jarencio said team chemistry is still a work in progress for his team, though he feels they’re getting better after going through tough losses this season.
“Yung mga talo namin, breaks of the game lang, so kailangan lang ng maturity pa at kasama na rin yung chemistry namin as a team,” added the Globalport coach.
Meantime, San Miguel coach Leo Austria is wary of the heavy minutes Fajardo has had this season, owing to the lack of a solid backup following the ankle sprain Doug Kramer suffered three weeks ago.
Austria held light practice before weekend and gave the team a rest day before plunging back to practice this week in preparation against GlobalPort.
“Nag-rehab lang yung iba nung Thursday, then sa Friday nag-practice and then off ng Saturday. Kailangan meron kaming konting break dahil sunud sunud na yang games eh,” Austria said.
Though the Beermen have a solid chance at landing at one of the top two slots that guarantee an automatic semifinals seat, Austria noted that their last four opponents in the single-round eliminations are no pushovers.
Which is why the San Miguel veteran coach said they intend to go for a sweep of its last four games if possible to avoid any complications.
“Nine wins eh pwuede mag-tie (in the top of the standings), pero as of now, kailangang mag-10 wins to avoid any complications, kasi sigurado yung 10,” said the 56-year-old Austria.
After facing GlobalPort, San Miguel takes on Meralco next Friday, followed by Talk ‘N Text on Dec. 5, before closing its elimination round schedule against Blackwater on Dec. 9.