SAN Miguel Beer faces another tough test from another hefty frontline as it collides with Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Opening their title-retention bid on the wrong foot with a 93-85 loss to Meralco last Wednesday when they found the Bolts’ defense anchored by Arinze Onuaku almost impenetrable, the Beermen take on an Elasto Painters side bannered by beefy reinforcement Reggie Johnson.
The towering frontcourt of June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger, and import Troy Gillenwater showed some flashes of chemistry, but couldn’t sustain it throughout the game as the Bolts guards, Baser Amer and Chris Newsome , found openings with Onuaku getting most of the attention.
“I think we’re still in the period of adjustment,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “We started our practice two weeks ago and we were not able to complete the two weeks because of commitments of some players, maraming distractions.”
“And we thought na we’re a very strong team, a super team,” he added ahead of their matchup against Rain or Shine at 6:45 p.m. “Before this game talagang hype na hype yun eh.”
After taking the reality check, the Beermen hope they have regained their bearings as they face an E-Painters side that had been streaking in their first three games before letting their guard down against emergent Columbian Dyip with a 104-96 loss also last Wednesday.
While SMB’s big men have their work cut out against Johnson, the E-Painters frontline also have an unenviable task against Fajardo, Standhardinger, and Gillenwater.
Raymond Almazan teams up with Beau Belga, Norbert Torres and Johnson in canceling out their SMB counterparts.
“Bahala na si Batman,” the reed-thin 6-foot-8 Almazan said with a chuckle.
TNT, which has won its first three games and is now alone at the top with a following the ROS loss, tries to keep its win streak going as it takes the court earlier against an Alaska side that’s also gaining steam, having won its last two games by an average of 25 points after opening the conference with a loss.