SMB hopes to sustain hot run ahead of crucial finals elimination stretch as Beermen face NLEX
Arwind Santos and the Beermen, tied for the lead with the idle Alaska Aces, eye the provisional lead. Jerome Ascano

SAN Miguel Beer warms up for its final steep stretch of the elimination round as it takes on NLEX on Wednesday in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Before facing contenders Talk ‘N Text and Alaska, the Beermen hope to hurdle a relatively lighter, yet still dangerous foe in the Road Warriors in the 7 p.m. affair.

The Beermen remain the odds-on favorites as they are the league’s hottest team, having won their last five games and brandishing the form that made them the defending all-Filipino conference champions.

“Ang ganda ng samahan namin, yan yung nagdadala sa laro namin,” star forward Arwind Santos said. “Sobrang lalim ng bench tapos alam ng bawat isa na malakas yung team, so walang dapat gawin kundi magtulungan.”

SMB highlighted its depth in a 102-86 rout of Mahindra last Wednesday when they drew significant contribution from role players, like Brian Heruela and Bitoy Omolon, in the absence of injured star sniper Marcio Lassiter.

The quarterfinals-assured Beermen, tied at the top with Alaska at 7-1 (win-loss), are seeking to solidify their bid for an outright semifinal berth.

Still, they can’t take lightly the Road Warriors (4-4) who are hoping to secure a spot in the next round and bounce back from a 96-90 setback against GlobalPort also last Wednesday.

The Batang Pier (5-3) aim to stretch their winning streak to three games as they take on cellar-dwelling Meralco (1-8) in the curtain-raiser at 4:15 p.m.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos