The San Miguel Beermen are at the brink of a finals rematch. But before they can think about that, there is still a game to be played. And they are hoping this will be the last game of the semifinals. Coach Yeng Guiao and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters won’t go away quietly however. After comebacks in games 1 and 2, and a straight shootout in game 3, I wonder what these two teams have in store for game 4. Last game was pretty chippy and ROS will be expected to turn up the physicality as they will have to do everything to force a deciding fifth.
SMB’s defense will be the focal point. Can their zone defense continue to hold the fort for them? Will ROS finally be able to break it? More importantly, their new-found, successful defensive schemes against Wendell McKines will be put the test once again. They can’t rest in throwing 2-3 defenders at him and force him to do anything but shoot the leather under the basket. They will also have to take note of Paul Lee and company who bombed away and took advantage of the focus on their import. Coach Leo Austria will have to once again pick his poison.
Offensively, it’s hard to believe they can keep up their hot shooting, but they’ve already done it twice in a row. It is imperative that they not run cold from that area. They just have to stick to keeping the pace low and slow and work to move the ball around and get a great shot each and every possession. One thing that helped them free up space was the Alex Cabagnot pick and roll with June Mar Fajardo. They should probably run more of that as well.
Speaking of Fajardo, he’ll have to dust off a miserable second half. With Beau Belga expected to be back in the mix, he’ll have to expect every Elasto Painter to try and muscle him out of his comfort zone. He’ll also have to watch out for those pesky charging calls. But I believe he has something to prove. I don’t think he’ll take McKines staring him down lightly. The bench support has been up and down so far this series but the starters will need them more than ever. Chris Lutz and Ronald Tubid have to be more consistent and the rest should follow.
It won’t be an easy closeout. Most importantly, the Beermen will have to focus and display that killer instinct that hasn’t always been there. They can’t allow ROS to grab the momentum they worked so hard for. As long as they keep getting good looks and getting stops, they should be able to book that last ticket to the Governors’ Cup finals. #FearTheBeer
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