The San Miguel Beermen are on the cusp of their second championship this season and their 21st in franchise history. However, the Alaska Aces aren’t the type of squad to just roll over and die. Leo Austria talked about experiencing losing a 3-1 series lead when he was a player. He is sure to instill the same warning and have his boys ready and prepared for what looks to be an all-out war.
Some like to say that in do-or-die games, you just throw out the statistics and see who wants it more. That is partly true in this case. How will Alaska respond? Will they come out firing? Will they come out desperate? The players and even their coach certainly looked and sounded defeated during the fourth quarter and the postgame interview. Who could blame them? They had the victory in their hands in two straight games only for San Miguel to slip through. But Alex Compton did say that they will make sure San Miguel earns the victory. They will definitely turn up the pressure and physicality a notch higher. Calvin Abueva and Romeo Travis are still the players to watch out for. Abueva has made his mark in games with his chaotic play but there’s the sense that he hasn’t done or played enough. As for Travis, he has been a shell of himself since game one. Whether it’s his mentality or San Miguel’s tough defense, he’ll want to remind everyone why he was named Best Import of the Conference.
As for San Miguel, they can’t be complacent. Even though they’ve pulled off two straight comeback bids, Alaska has gotten closer and closer to figuring out the answer. The Beermen will have to be wary of the increased intensity on both ends. As always though, they just have to stick to their gameplan and make the necessary adjustments. In three games, Arizona Reid, June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos have proven to be their most reliable contributors. It will be up to Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and their bench unit to tip the scales in their favor.
San Miguel has taken Alaska’s best punches so far and they should hopefully do the same here. It wouldn’t be a surprise for this to be another neck and neck contest. As long as they are composed and able to weather the storm, they should attain the championship they’ve longed for. Hang in there boys, just one more game. #FearTheBeer
Injury Note: Chris Ross had to be carried to the locker room in game three after a full-on knee-to-knee collision with Sonny Thoss. It was also the same knee he’s been having problems with since the semifinals. He said on Twitter that he was receiving around the clock treatment to be ready just in time for game four. It remains to be seen how limited he will be. As such, Jeric Fortuna might get some playing time. Even Chris Lutz could come in as backup PG.
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Featured Image Credit: Pranz Kaeno Billones, Sports5