The Philippine Cup Finals rematch is set as the San Miguel Beermen (0-3) and Alaska Aces (1-2) face off in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. It appears their 7-game series took its toll with both teams sporting losing records. The Beermen haven’t been playing to their usual standards while the Aces are facing several key injuries (JVee Casio, Sonny Thoss, Calvin Abueva, and Vic Manuel are all out). Nevertheless, this should still be an exciting continuation of a brewing rivalry.
In three games, San Miguel is simply unable to convert on their looks. They’re still dead last in all shooting categories (FG%, 3PT%, eFG%, and TS%) and are getting to the line at a low rate (just 21 attempts per game – ninth). Their #2 defense from last conference is nowhere to be seen either, sporting a defensive rating of 100.5 (tenth). What they do well is generate second chance opportunities (ORB% of 39.2 – best in the league) and take care of the ball. Unfortunately, their bad shooting doesn’t let it translate to points. Meanwhile, Alaska is currently an offensive powerhouse stats-wise with an offensive of rating of 100.3 on a slow pace of just 85.4. Clearly, injuries haven’t really affected their offense. The greatest effect has been on the other end where they’ve given up 116.3 points to their opponents (!!!). This might be an opportune time for them to correct their shooting struggles, especially June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos. Again, San Miguel’s gameplan should be the same: keep Alaska out of the paint and the line and convert on freethrows, turnover points, and second chance opportunities.
This game also marks a big test for import Ronald Roberts, Jr. He hasn’t been bad, far from it actually, but the fit has been questionable, especially with the locals struggling. He was originally brought in for his defense and shot blocking but has had to compensate for the lack of local scoring, which isn’t really his strength. With rumors of possible replacements swirling, he’ll have to prove that he’s more than just San Miguel’s third choice.
It would have been nice to see both teams in better situations heading into their rematch but, like I said, it should still be a good contest. If the Beermen can take advantage of Alaska’s depleted roster and the locals finally show up (two BIG If’s), they stand a good chance to finally grab their first win in the Commissioner’s Cup.
TV: LIVE ON TV5 AND AKSYONTV
RADIO: RADYO 92.3 NEWS FM AND DZSR 918 KHZ AM
TIME: 7:00 PM
ARENA: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM
Featured Image Credit: Pranz Kaeno Billones