The San Miguel Beermen (3-6) hope to keep their winning streak going as they take on the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (6-3). The last time these two teams met, San Miguel swept them in last conference’s semifinals. Today however, they find themselves in opposite ends of the standings. With six wins on their belt, Talk ‘N Text is already assured of a playoff spot. But they can’t be expected to let up the pressure, especially with a tough triple-overtime loss to the Purefoods Star Hotshots just last Saturday. They may want to let off some steam and will need to improve their playoff seeding.
While staying near the top of the standings, they’ve relied a lot on their top 2 offense to get there, scoring 102.4 points per 100 possessions. It’s easy to see why: they lead the league in effective FG% at 47.9, are second in three-point makes (9.1) and shooting percentage (32.4%), and tops in taking care of the leather (11.1 TOV%). They should also be expected to fuel their running game by forcing turnovers on the other end. Curiously enough, they are second in second chance points (12.6) even though they are a middle-of-the-pack rebounding team.
Some of those strengths can also be taken advantage of. The Beermen’s focus should be on the defensive end. Though the Texters are a top three-point shooting team, it comes at the cost of their inside game. They don’t really score a lot of points inside the arc and are second to the last at getting to the line (just 15.9% of their possessions). None of their locals are really tall so the Beermen shouldn’t have a hard time guarding the paint. They just have to make sure to close off driving lanes and force a lot of contested threes. This should also apply to individual match-ups, especially on Ivan Johnson. Though he’s averaging close to 30 points and 15 rebounds, he’s taking a staggering 8.5 triples a game and shooting just 20.6% of them. They’ll be fine as long as June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, and company keep him on the perimeter. They can’t take their eyes off the locals either, especially Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser. Luckily, they have the personnel to effectively guard the first two while they have to find a way to contain Ganuelas-Rosser’s energy on the offensive boards, something that they struggled with last conference.
If San Miguel can show the same rejuvenated and inspired play against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, they should find themselves one step closer to a playoff birth and saving a doomed campaign.
TV: LIVE ON TV5, AKSYONTV, AND FOX SPORTS 1
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TIME: 7:00 PM
ARENA: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM
Featured Image Credit: Pranz Kaeno Billones, Sports5