The San Mig Super Coffee Mixers will be back in action against one of the fast-rising teams in the PBA today, the Air 21 Express. Both teams are currently at the top of the team standings with a 4-2 win-loss card just behind league-leading TNT Tropang Texters and look to break the tie and take solo 2nd and solidify their bid for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The Mixers are expected to bounce back after a disappointing loss against the Alaska Aces in their last game. It won’t be easy as they are up against a confident team in Air 21, fresh from their win against the Meralco Bolts. The Mixers need this win to boost their confidence coming into the final stretch of the eliminations as they’ll be facing powerhouse teams in RoS and TNT. What do they need to do in order to get this much-needed win?
Keys to the Game
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS
It will be a busy night for the big men of San Mig as Air 21 is one of the better teams when it comes to rebounding this conference. They have been dominating the battle of the boards in most of their games this conference. Looking at the numbers:
Marqus Blakely must be extra aggressive in this game to help San Mig in the rebounding department. Marc Pingris must also be able to assert his presence inside the paint for them to have a better chance of winning the battle of the boards and prevent the Express from having multiple possessions in the game.
LIMIT SUTTON AND TAULAVA
The import of Air 21, Dominique Sutton, and the rejuvenated Asi Taulava are the onse carrying the load for the Express for the most part of the conference so far.
In the first 6 games in the Governor’s Cup, Sutton has been averaging 24.8 points, 14.5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game for the Air 21 Express. He has been a solid presence for the Express down low and the Mixers must be able to defend him well inside and be able to push him out a little bit, out of his comfort zone. One weakness that San Mig can take advantage of is Sutton’s inability to sink his freethrows, only hitting 52.1 percent from the charity stripe.
Complementing the prolific import of Air 21 is the ageless Asi Taulava. He’s been dishing out great numbers for the Express and been leading them to victories this conference. Taulava is averaging a double-double of 17.8 points and 14 rebounds per game (5.5 of them are from the offensive glass). He also leads his team in assists this conference with 3.5 dimes per game.
The Mixers are going to have a busy night defending these two guys for sure. However, they should also be wary of the other guys in Air 21 who are very capable of taking over a game if left unchecked. San Mig’s defense will be put to a test in this game and they should be able to show their best defensive form that gave them one championship after another.
The starters of the Mixers namely James, PJ and Ping must be able to recover from their lackluster showing in their last game against the Aces. Although they have a talented bench that could provide solid numbers for them, the Mixers’ chances of winning games will still largely depend on the production of their starters. Once their starters can get their game going, together with their bench, the Mixers will be a hard team to stop.
Joseph Yeo vs. PJ Simon
An interesting match-up to follow in this game is the battle between 2 of the most talented shooting guards in the league today in Yeo and Simon. When it comes to scoring, nobody can question the ability of these two as they seem to find a way to put the ball in the hole when their team needs some buckets. So who’ll be able to score more points and will their team to victory? Can Joseph Yeo and company extend their winning-streak or will PJ Simon and the rest of the Mixers be able to take solo 2nd spot with a win in this game?