THEY’VE already managed to overcome a 0-3 deficit in a title series, so what’s another do-or-die game in the quarterfinals?
The San Miguel Beermen seeks to restore order in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup when they take on eight-seeded Star in their quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots dragged the top-seeded and twice-to-beat Beermen to a sudden death with a 108-99 victory on Monday night.
“We’ve been down zero-three and we know how to handle this kind of situation,” said SMB coach Leo Austria, whose team pulled off the greatest comeback in league history in the Philippine Cup Finals at the expense of Alaska.
“We have to protect our achievement,” the champion coach added as his team is also on an ambitious quest for a grand slam. “I hope it will be a different ballgame, or else, it’s going to be an embarrassing loss for us.”
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the semifinals opposite Rain or Shine.
The Beermen also aim to break a jinx in the Commissioner’s Cup, where they also can’t seem to get past the first round of the playoffs.
Since the return of the three-conference format in the 2010-11 season, the Beermen have yet to get past the quarterfinals in the midseason tournament.
“Kung manalo lang kami, lahat yun ma-e-erase,” Austria said as he hopes for a rejuvenated performance from import Tyler Wilkerson, who wound up with just 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting, his second-lowest output this conference after coming in averaging 36.9 points.
“Everybody is expecting us to win because they’re looking for another championship and we’re the only team who has the chance to win a grand slam,” Austria added. “I’m challenging the team. It’s a matter of attitude and discipline.”
But the Hotshots, behind workhorse Ricardo Ratliffe, aim to pull off a gigantic upset and become the first eighth-seeded team to knock out a top seed since Powerade did the amazing feat in the 2012 Philippine Cup against, ironically, B-Meg.
“I don’t have to make these guys believe,” Hotshots coach Jason Webb said. “They know how good they are. It’s a matter of who’s going to be lucky.”