SAN Miguel Beer tries to inch closer to a top four berth when it shoots for a fifth win against slumping Meralco in the lone PBA Governors Cup road game on Saturday at the Xavier gym in Cagayan de Oro.
Both teams face off at 5 p.m.
The Beermen currently share second place with Air21 with similar (4-2) win-loss cards.
They are coming off a 102-99 come-from-behind win against hard luck Globalport on Tuesday behind June Mar Fajardo’s first 20-20 performance for the conference.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo, the MVP statistical race leader this season, banged in 26 points and grabbed a new career-high 27 rebounds to carry the banged-up Beermen past the Batang Pier.
San Miguel import Reggie Williams said despite the team’s size advantage owing to the presence of Fajardo, the Beermen are still expecting tough games ahead as the rest of the field try to step up in their bid to grab one of the eight playoff slots.
“There hasn’t been one team that’s a walk in the park. You look at all our games, they have all been tough, nail-biters,” said the left-handed Williams, who averages 31.5 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists for the Beermen.
Williams is expected to dish off another big game, owing to the absence of injured guards Marcio Lassiter (cut on right shin), Chris Ross (right calf muscle strain), and Paolo Hubalde (shoulder), though San Miguel coach Biboy Ravanes said he has cautioned his team at taking the Bolts lightly.
“Meralco’s standing does not define who they are this conference. They (Bolts) have a dominant import, and with Mike Cortez coming in, he has already adjusted well,” said Ravanes.
“We just want to ride on the momentum from our last game, start strong, and solidify our current ranking,” he added.
Meantime, Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio admitted the Bolts’ biggest challenge now is how to contain Fajardo.
“We must neutralize Fajardo’s dominating presence in the paint and lower the field goal accuracy of Williams,” said Gregorio, whose team shares last place with Barako Bull with their 1-5 records.
“It’s easier said than done but that is our only chance.”
Fajardo has been an unstoppable force for the Beermen this conference, averaging career-high numbers of 21.8 points and 17.1 rebounds.
Meralco is coming off a morale-deflating 67-80 loss to Air21 on Wednesday, but Gregorio said the Bolts refuse to give up at this point.
“The game plan is to do whatever it takes for us to salvage our conference,” said the multi-titled coach.