With a long two-week layoff and the festivities of the PBA All-Star Weekend over and done with, the San Miguel Beermen (2-6) resume their playoff hunt against one of the top teams in the league, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (5-2). With San Miguel needing to sweep their remaining three games, it won’t come easy as these two teams find themselves on opposite ends of the standings.

Rain or Shine still brings their chaotic pace, second in the league in terms of pace. The difference now is that they’ve been doing it on the defensive end, limiting opponents to just 93.6 points per 100 possessions, second only to the Purefoods Star Hotshots. That pretty much makes up for their fourth worst offense (98.5 points per 100). Despite that, the combined offensive firepower of returning import Wayne Chism and franchise player Paul Lee are definitely things to watch out for. Chism has been huge in two games, totaling 22 points, 14.5 boards, and 2.5 assists. He’s also shooting a scorching 52.9% from deep and turned the ball over just once. He will be a tough cover for anyone on the San Miguel roster. Lee is no slouch either with a line of 17.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 dimes. He’s also been bombing away from deep at 42.9% as well. Unlike in Chism’s case, San Miguel has the personnel to contend with him but he will still be a tough cover nonetheless.

Luckily for the Beermen, there are a few things they can take advantage of. First and foremost, the Elasto Painters are still one of the most physical teams out there, a double-edged sword on the court. They commit the third-most fouls in the league, which translates to 29.6 freethrow attempts for their opponents. Second, owing to their fast pace, they’re also fourth in giving up turnovers. Lastly, more than 50% of their opponents’ attempts come in the paint. With San Miguel struggling in the halfcourt, they’ve resorted to hunting for some easy scoring opportunities instead, which should play well into Rain or Shine’s weaknesses.

It will definitely be an uphill battle, especially with a gimpy June Mar Fajardo still expected to play. Nevertheless, they can’t afford a loss if they want a crack at the playoffs.

TIME: 7:00 PM

Featured Image Credit: Pranz Kaeno Billones, Sports5