In a rematch of last year’s Governor’s Cup Finals, the San Mig Coffee Mixers (1-0) and the San Miguel Beermen (1-1) (formerly Petron Blaze Boosters) battle each other to get win no. 2 in the elimination round of the 2014 Governor’s Cup.
The Beermen/Boosters are out for revenge against these Mixers squad which denied them the title last year by just a game, winning the series 4-3. Since then, the Mixers bagged 2 more championship titles in the PBA, while SMB/Petron is still in search of its first one in 3 years (last was 2011 Governor’s Cup against TNT).
However, all of that is now in the past and this ball game will be a totally different one. Here are my thoughts on what the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers should do to get past this talented SMB squad.
Keys to the Game
STOP SMB’s ONE-TWO PUNCH
In their first 2 games this conference, the Beermen have been relying heavily on big numbers from their exceptional import, Reggie Williams, and the reliable Kraken, Junemar Fajardo.
In a losing effort against the Alaska Aces in his PBA debut, he dished out an impressive game of 42 points (76 percent eFG), 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. He then followed it up with a double-double performance in SMB’s win against RoS finishing with 29 points (47.4 percent eFG) and 13 rebounds. The Mixers must find a way to contain Williams and limit his impact in the game for them to have a good chance of winning. They must limit his offensive opportunities throughout the game as Williams is a very efficient import in terms of offense and is averaging a 59.6 percent free-throw rate in 2 games this conference.
Another man that San Mig will have to take care of in this game is a very familiar opponent for them in Junemar Fajardo. The leading MVP candidate this season is simply too big and too strong inside the paint for most teams in the PBA today. He registered his career-high in points (28 on 52.9 percent shooting) in their win against ROS and collared a team-high 18 rebounds. What’s impressive is that he dominated the paint agains the impressive frontline of the Elasto Painters. The Mixers must use all their might to push Fajardo out of the paint and out of his comfort zone. Pingris will have a busy night against his Gilas Pilipinas teammate and must get all the help he could get to contain the Kraken.
For the Mixers to have a better chance against the Beermen, focus should be on the rebounding department especially on the offensive end. Let’s look at SMB’s game against Alaska as an example.
In their first loss this conference, the Beermen were outrebounded by the Aces and had the advantage when it comes to the offensive boards. The Mixers must see to it that they also do this against the Beermen in this game. Blakely, Pingris, and company must be able to box out well and see to it that they limit San Miguel’s second chances in this game. It will be a difficult game for the Mixers if they allow multiple opportunities to a talented team like the Beermen. In their part, the Mixers must find a way to grab offensive boards and create multiple scoring opportunities for them as well.
START STRONG, END STRONG
Another key for the Mixers in this game is that they have to start strong and end strong. In the first 2 games of the Beermen, the 1st and 4th quarters were key in determining whether they would win the game or not. In their loss against Alaska, the Beermen were outscored 20-18 and 25-17 in the 1st and 4th quarters respectively. On the other hand, in their win against Rain or Shine, they won the scoring battle in both quarters (21-11 and 31-24). The Mixers must play with a lot of energy coming in and should not allow themselves to fall into a deep hole early in the game. The Mixers must also take control of the final quarter make a strong push in the endgame to secure the win for them.
Ross vs. Barroca
Ross had a quality game against Rain or Shine (4 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals). It will be interesting to see how he fares with one of the best defensive guards in the PBA today in Mark Barroca.
For sure, this will be a tough game for the Mixers. For me, for them to have a better chance agianst SMB, they must be able to control the tempo of the game and set the tone with their defense right from the get go. A smooth free-flowing game will work to SMB’s advantage and the Mixers must make a deliberate effort to slow it down and make it a grind-out type of game.