Defending champion San Miguel Beer attempts to take that giant step towards a fifth straight crown as it shoots for a return trip to the finals in the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.
The Beermen, ahead 3-1, can finish off Phoenix and wrap-up their best-of-seven semifinals series in Game 5 today at 7 p.m. at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
San Miguel Beer bounced back emphatically in Game 4 last Tuesday night, flexing its championship muscles to take a dominant 114-91 win in yet another physical contest to get closer to another finals’ stint.
Terrence Romeo played the lead role, waxing hot with a team-high 20 points, 17 of which came in succession in an impressive personal outburst in the third period to bring the Beermen to safety for good.
Another thing that San Miguel Beer did right in Game 4 was that it was able to have a solid start, something it failed to do when it lost Game 3.
SMBeermen coach Leo Austria hopes his team can duplicate that in Game 5 as he feels it is a big key.
“I think we need to have a good start again because that sets everything for us,” said Austria. “That way, we can dictate the tempo of the game.”
San Miguel Beer will have a fresher June Mar Fajardo, who sat out most of the second half in Game 5 as he did not have to return anymore with his teammates picking up all the needed cudgels.
The Fuel Masters, now facing elimination, need to stay poised if they want to extend the series.
Jaypee Mendoza and Alex Mallari both got ejected in Game 5 after incurring multiple technical fouls.
In that game, Arwind Santos’ second-quarter salvo helped the Beermen cruise to the 23-point win.
After struggling in San Miguel’s 92-90 loss to Phoenix in Game 3 on Sunday, when he shot a horrendous 1-for-12 from the 3-point range, Santos bounced back with a flourish, sinking three triples, including a trey that handed SMB a 59-47 edge. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Only Calvin Abueva ended up in double figures for the Fuel Masters, with 19 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks.
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