Can Mark Pingris prove himself worthy of the Gilas selection? (Photo Credit: Paul Ryan Tan, InterAKTV)

Two teams with disappointing 1st game results collides as sister teams San Mig Coffee Mixers and Petron Blaze Boosters clash to get their 1st win of the 2nd conference. During their debut games last Friday, Petron lost to Global Port 94-92 despite the 3rd quarter ejection of Global Port import Justin Williams. Meanwhile, San Mig Coffee, despite missing the services of import Matt Rogers, fought tooth and nail against the Barako Energy but still fell in the end, 79-75.

Both teams started this conference the same way they ended the last one — with a loss. Because of this, both teams will be hungry for a win. Matt Rogers will finally suit up for the SMC franchise and he is raring to prove that he belongs in the PBA and not just a standby import until Denzel Bowles is ready.

Meanwhile, Petron would like to end all the Petronovela jokes. The easiest way to do this is to win. Star players such as Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot – who both got their fair share of critiques from their haters, journalists, tweeps and even from die hard life long fans of the storied San Miguel Beermen franchise — will be asked again to carry this Petron team along with their import, NBA veteran Renaldo Balkman. Petron is a collection of stars that needs to learn how to play together. Between Santos, Washington, Cabagnot, two former Gilas players in Lassiter and Lutz and Yeo, Petron isn’t winning for a lack of fire power.

James Yap, San Miguel Coffee Mixers vs Petron Blaze Boosters

James Yap will be the focal point of SMC’s offense (Photo Credit: Nuki Sabio, PBA)

What are the Keys to the Game?

1.) Keep Yeo in check — Joseph Yeo barely got playing time during the 1st game. But if given the chance, the Ninja can explode like he did a couple of times for Petron during the few times he got a chance. He did it for Sta Lucia before, and he did it countless of times for DLSU and Xavier. The Ninja can be the off-the-bench energy scorer that Petron needs, but only if given a chance.

2.) Big Game James — James Yap had a good game during their last game scoring 19 points, but it seems like he re-injured his knee. The Mixers need a healthy James Yap to get the W. If SMC has any plans of competing — and get a repeat of last year’s dramatic championship run — then Big Game James needs to show up.

3.) Sakuragi — Marc Pingris was not much of a factor during the last game but expect Sakuragi to bring the much needed energy boost for the Mixers, especially now that Pingris wants to prove that he belongs in the Gilas lineup. Let’s see if the added jogging time at night will improve his stamina, which would mean more energy for the Coffee Mixers. Defensive intensity and 110 percent hustle is what SMC must get from Pingris.

Walang kapatid kapatid. Expect a war between these sister teams starving for a win. San Mig Coffee vs Petron. This will probably be a close game, but in the end, the usual Petronovela struggles will rear its ugly head in the end, and the Mixers will get their 1st win of the tournament.