AFTER stumbling in its last outing, defending champion San Miguel Beer is determined to bounce back and forge a tie for second place when it resumes its campaign in the 2015 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.
The San Miguel Beermen (2-1) will be heavily favored when they take on Blackwater (1-2) in their 4:15 p.m. collision with Blackwater (1-2), to be followed by the match between corporate siblings Talk ‘N Text (1-1) and Meralco (0-2) at 7 p.m. at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City today.
The Beermen are locked in a three-way logjam for third place with NLEX and GlobalPort on similar 2-1 cards, but a win will move the Beermen into a tie for second place with the Alaska Aces.
San Miguel Beer, which streaked to a 2-0 start, was tripped and battered by the still unbeaten Rain or Shine (3-0), 99-84, a week ago.
As the Beermen look to recapture their form, coach Leo Austria said the team needs to address specific concerns against a rejuvenated Elite side.
“In our last game, nakalimutan namin what works for us. We settled for outside shots and forgot about our strength inside. We need to go back to our post game to June Mar (Fajardo) and start our attack there,’’ said Austria. ‘’We’re looking to make that adjustment and balance our offense in our next game.’’
In contrast to San Miguel’s fiery start, Blackwater actually lost its first two games before carving out its first win with a morale-boosting 92-90 squeaker over the struggling Bolts also last week.
Vastly improving guard Carlo Lastimosa sank the game-winning floater at the buzzer for the win that broke Meralco’s heart.
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac didn’t hide his optimism now that his team posted its first-ever Philippine Cup victory in franchise history.
“Masarap ‘yung panalo kasi first namin sa Philippine Cup hindi lang this season but for the franchise kasi zero kami last year,’’ he said. ‘’Ang battlecry namin every game is to compete hard and we’re hoping na things can continue to be in our favor pa especially against San Miguel.’’
Heading into just its third game of the conference, the Tropang Texters are fresh and well-rested as they are coming off a 10-day break following their 101-97 triumph over Mahindra last Oct. 31.
Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico, however, has admitted that the Tropang Texters, considered as one of the title favorites given their talented line-up, are still struggling to get into peak form.
‘’As a team right now, we’re still at 50 percent pa lang, I think. May mga kulang pa and we’re still not where we should be. We’re still regrouping and we have a long way to go. Unti-unti naman we’re getting there,’’ said Uichico.
The Tropang Texters should expect to face a team desperate to break into the winning column as the Bolts are still in search of a win after two straight losses.
(Philsports Arena, Pasig City):
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs. Talk ‘N Text
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs. Blackwater