San Miguel tests mettle of NLEX in marquee Governors' Cup matchup
Wendell McKines and the Beermen are out to test if Aaron Fuller and the Road Warriors are for real. Jaime Campos

SAN Miguel Beer seeks to sustain momentum in its quest for a grand slam as it tests the mettle of NLEX in their PBA Governors’ Cup matchup on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Coming off a three-week break, the Beermen atoned for their first loss of the conference that came against Star with a 115-112 win over GlobalPort just last Friday, San Miguel now looks to start another win streak as they take the court for the second time in three days.

The league’s most successful franchise that’s seeking its second Triple Crown in history faces its latest obstacle in the Road Warriors, who have emerged as worthy challengers as they are in the midst of a rise from being cellar-dwellers the last two conferences.

“Talagang for me, they are really a contender,” SMB coach Leo Austria ahead of the 6:45 p.m. matchup. “They are inspired because they have a good start. They’re happy with their import.

“You cannot take this team lightly; they’re really determined to beat any team in the tournament,” he added.

The Road Warriors, behind reinforcement Aaron Fuller, have won five of their first seven games, and are eager to recover from a close 107-106 loss to another emergent team in Blackwater last week.

And the Yeng Guiao-coached cagers get another chance to prove that they are for real with a victory against the Beermen, who boast a powerhouse lineup anchored by import Wendell McKines, who the NLEX coach handled at Rain or Shine two seasons ago.

Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter are expected to continue to take on the cudgels while June Mar Fajardo’s minutes are still managed as the reigning MVP is recovering from a calf injury.

Kevin Alas, Alex Mallari, and JR Quinahan lead the local attack of the rejuvenated Road Warriors.

Star, which is setting the pace in the tournament with four straight wins, stakes its undefeated record as it faces former franchise player James Yap and Rain or Shine (3-2) in the curtain-raiser at 4:30 p.m.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos