After an easy blowout win against GlobalPort Batang Pier, the San Miguel Beermen will face stiffer competition as they face the Meralco Bolts. Once again, it’s mentor versus mentee as June Mar Fajardo faces Danny Ildefonso in what will likely be a physical battle between the bigs.
Much like their 4-4 record, Meralco have been middle of the pack on both sides of the ball. There are mainly two things San Miguel can take advantage: 1) the Bolts lack of shooting and 2) their propensity to give up fouls. On the first point, Meralco is at the bottom when it comes to shooting efficiency, with only Blackwater and Kia being worse. Their 25.8% clip from 3 has a lot to do with it. That bodes well for San Miguel as they are one of the best at forcing misses. They just have to challenge shooters, force them to put the ball on the floor, and lock down the paint. Secondly, the Beermen will have to make a concerted effort to get to the line as Meralco is tops in giving up personal fouls, owing to the physicality of their bigs. If there is one thing they do well, it’s to score in transition. They are number one in fast break points and number 3 in turnover points, staples of a Norman Black-coached team. It helps that they are also very good in swiping balls and forcing turnovers. San Miguel gave up 19 turnover points the last time out. They can’t afford to make the same mistakes against the Bolts’ deadly transition attack.
As mentioned earlier, expect a lot of physicality, especially when Fajardo is in the post. Meralco lacks height and true centers but they make up for it with their experience and rugged play. We will get to see how he handles the combined efforts of Ildefonso, Reynel Hugnatan, John Ferriols, and James Sena.
I don’t expect another blowout or an easy win, but if the Beermen commit to playing the same way they did against GlobalPort, they’ll come out with another W at the end of the day.
Injury Update: Marcio Lassiter did not play against GlobalPort due to illness and is still expected to be out against Meralco. His sniping and defense will be missed but the improved play of Ronald Pascual should help mitigate his absence.
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