In a rare triple-header, the San Miguel Beermen (8-2) will the winless Blackwater Elite (0-10) in their last elimination game. Having lost their previous match, San Miguel will have one last chance to clinch the remaining semis birth.
It’s easy to see why Blackwater has struggled to get a win in their first conference. They are the worst offensive team in the league (83.6 points per 100 possessions) even though they play at a pretty fast pace (90.7 possessions per 48 minutes – 3rd). They are 11th in effective FG%, 11th in offensive rebounding rate, 2nd in turnover percentage, and last in free throw rate. They compound that problem by giving up the most turnover points as well. They struggle scoring in both halfcourt and transition and are unable to find easy scoring opportunities. All in all, a pretty bad team – and we haven’t even talked about their defense. For San Miguel, they should take advantage of all these deficiencies. They have to get back to their identity as a defensive squad, something they failed to show versus Talk ‘N Text. Rather than try and outscore their opponents, focus on getting stops and building on that.
I would love for them to cruise in this one but I expect it to go down like their game against the Kia Sorento: close for the first 3 quarters, then overpower them down the stretch. The Beermen can’t afford to take this contest lightly, especially with the Elite playing with nothing to lose. I could also be wrong and they come out guns blazing because of their poor play last Friday. Either way, I don’t think they have to be reminded of what’s at stake here: win and they get an outright semis birth; lose and they plummet to the fourth seed with a much tougher road to the finals.
Injury News: No confirmation yet on if Marcio Lassiter will see action but he did return to team practice last Saturday. He was out the last two weeks due to a viral infection. The team definitely missed his presence but they were able to make up for it with solid guard play, including rookie Ronald Pascual. More perimeter shooting and defense is always a good thing to have however.
TV: LIVE ON TV5 AND AKSYONTV
RADIO: RADYO5 92.3 NEWS FM AND DZSR 918 KHZ AM
TIME: 4:15 PM
ARENA: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM
Featured Image Credit: Mandy Mangubat, The Shaded Lane