The San Miguel Beermen won’t have time to celebrate their comeback victory and rest on their laurels as they face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters just two days later. After giving up two straight 20+ point leads, Yeng Guiao should be fuming at his players. SMB will have to expect another strong, hot start from them. I don’t think they can afford to be down 20 early on again, especially against a team that looks to have learned its lesson and won’t let opportunities like that go to waste. Leo Austria made the first move with a surprise zone defense. As he said after the game, Guiao will be better prepared to handle it when it does come up. Hopefully, Austria has counters of his own. This is setting up to be an interesting chess match between these two.

Player-wise, SMB still doesn’t have permanent solutions on how to stop Wendell McKines and Paul Lee. With Arizona Reid gimped a bit, he’s not really equipped to stop him down low. They can’t risk the much bigger June Mar Fajardo either as he will be prone to foul trouble guarding someone arguably stronger and faster than him. It will have to be a total team effort to contain him. As for Lee, San Miguel better hope defensive stalwart Chris Ross is feeling much better as his defense is sorely needed. I wouldn’t be opposed to Marcio Lassiter switching on to him. Aside from the individual match-ups, they have to make sure their defensive rotations are on point, especially on the perimeter.

Offensively, Fajardo is still their biggest advantage inside the paint. It’s still unknown if Beau Belga will play but no one on the Rain or Shine roster can really contend with him. SMB has to press that advantage and go to him early and often. SMB has to control the pace and the tempo of the game. They don’t want the Elasto Painters going wild in transition. That means slowing it down in the halfcourt and avoiding hasty shots (like pull-up jumpers in transition with no rebounders). Again, they have the tools to run but they don’t want to do it at ROS’ chaotic pace.

Game 1 certainly lacked the physicality we’ve been accustomed to. Expect that to change in this one as Rain or Shine are sure to come out with a bang. SMB has to weather that storm, avoid stagnating their offense, and play solid defense. If they do those things, they stand a good chance at a commanding 2-0 lead. #FearTheBeer

TIME: 5:00 PM

Featured Image Credit: Paul Ryan Tan, Sports5