THE 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals between San Miguel and Meralco is some sort of a "David vs Goliath" series. The Beermen rolled through the eliminations with a 9-2 win-loss record with a powerhouse cast led by June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, and are expected to compete once again for a championship this conference. The Bolts, meanwhile, are out for a Cinderella run after their breakthrough victory over Barangay Ginebra during the quarterfinals, and will look to take their campaign to another level with an upset over San Miguel.
The Beermen, though, unleashed their full might in Game One.
Here are the key match-ups in San Miguel vs Meralco series:
June Mar Fajardo vs. Raymond Almazan
The story inside the paint will be how Fajardo will dominate, and how Meralco does in trying to contain the San Miguel big man. Fajardo is back to his usual form that brought him the six MVP trophies. It’s going to be a difficult assignment not just for Almazan but to the other Meralco bigs as well. Almazan is perhaps the only player from the Bolts, height-wise, who can defend Fajardo inside.
CJ Perez vs. Chris Newsome
Two players known for their athleticism are expected to be matched up against each other throughout the series. As if the Beermen do not have enough scorers on the team, CJ Perez has flourished in his role as the primary threat on offense to an already loaded San Miguel squad. Chris Newsome, on the other hand, has provided not just the offense but leadership as Meralco’s skipper.
Aaron Black vs. Chris Ross
It’s going to be a young stud against a grizzled veteran at the point guard position for this series. Aaron Black had a tremendous series against Barangay Ginebra during the quarterfinals in which he averaged 21 points in the two wins. Chris Ross though will definitely not back down in another platform for him to show that he is one of the league’s elite in terms of defense.
Cliff Hodge vs. Rodney Brondial
Cliff Hodge has been known as the workhorse of Meralco but Rodney Brondial is fast becoming the guy who does the similar job of doing the dirty work for San Miguel. Having guarded some of the best scorers in the league including imports, Hodge could also be seen guarding Fajardo at some point during the series despite his height disadvantage. Hodge could also be in a battle with Brondial, who has been making a tremendous impact for Beermen in only his eighth month with the team with his presence inside.
Marcio Lassiter vs. Allein Maliksi
The ability of both teams to shoot from the outside will definitely be a factor in the series and the spotlight will definitely be on Marcio Lassiter and Allein Maliksi. Lassiter has already proven in the past that he can spread the floor and a constant threat from the outside the playoffs. The semifinals could be another ground for Maliksi to show that he is indeed a big-time player for the Bolts.
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