SAN Miguel and Magnolia look to move closer to the PBA Philippine Cup title as they battle in Game Five Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen and the Hotshots clash at 7 p.m.
Once again, the best-of-seven finals series is tied with San Miguel forging a deadlock at two apiece with a 114-98 victory over Magnolia in Game Four.
June Mar Fajardo dominated the contest after tallying 31 points and 14 rebounds for the four-time defending Philippine Cup champion Beermen, hours after receiving his sixth consecutive Best Player of the Conference trophy.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria said the Beermen still need to adjust defensively after nearly giving up 100 points in Game Four.
Jio Jalalon and Mark Barroca also had 22 points each for Magnolia, which for Austria is too much.
“We still have to improve our defense because we’re able to let them score 90 points,” Austria said. “Our target is less than 90,” said Austria.
“We have to limit those two guys (Jalalon, Barroca) because they’re the ones really creating. Makikita mo 40 plus ginawa nila,” he added.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero also said defense will be the focus of the Hotshots as they seek to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
“Kailangan pumunta sa strength namin which is defense,” Victolero said. “Kung mataas ‘yung score, malamang talo kami. Hindi kami puwedeng sumabay sa San Miguel sa opensa. It’s about our defensive mindset.”
One thing going for Magnolia is that the Hotshots have responded to a Beermen victory in the finals as they have won the odd number games in the series.