SAN Miguel Beer is hoping to sustain its fine run to secure a top place in the playoffs and give its players the much-needed rest.
Coach Leo Austria said that with big men June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos playing extended minutes the past four games due to the injuries of Doug Kramer and Rico Maierhofer, seizing one of the two automatic semis berths is crucial to allow his stars to recharge heading to the playoffs.
The Beermen, with five Games left on their elimination-round schedule, get a chance to further tighten their grip on the No. 2 spot when they clash with expansion squad Kia Motors on Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Biro mo, kung di mo makuha ang top 2, eh di pupunta pa kami sa knockout round ng quarterfinals. Sa quarterfinals, eh malalakas na ang mga kalaban dun,” he said.
“At least, kung mag-semis na kami, we’re waiting at makakapag-pahinga na rin kami.”
San Miguel (5-1) is coming off a morale-boosting 79-77 victory over sister team Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, and is expected to ride on that momentum against skidding Kia (1-6) in the 7 p.m. match.
“Yung panalo namin (against Ginebra) is really because of our defense. Now, we have an opportunity to get to the top 2 and the automatic semis slot,” Austria said.
The Sorento have lost their last six outings since opening the season with an 80-66 win over fellow expansion squad Blackwater at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
It was the first win for playing coach Manny Pacquiao, who has since returned to his training for his world welterweight title defense against Chris Algieri on Sunday.
Kia is again hoping to score with a win before leaving this Saturday for Macau to support Pacquiao.