ROS, Alaska in crucial showdown
By JONAS TERRADO
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – San Miguel vs Kia
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Alaska
Defending champion San Miguel tries to close in on a twice-to-beat advantage even without prized center June Mar Fajardo when it faces Kia in a battle of top and bottom teams today in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Fajardo, who saw action yesterday for Gilas Pilipinas against Australia in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers in Melbourne, won’t be seeing action in the 4:30 p.m. opener but his absence should be hardly felt with the Beermen heavily favored against the lowly Picanto.
San Miguel could end the day with the twice-to-beat in hand with a victory coupled with an Alaska victory over Rain or Shine in the other match at 7 p.m.
Rain or Shine, eyeing a quarterfinals berth, holds a 5-3 record while Alaska is tied for fourth with NLEX at 6-4.
Both teams are still in the hunt for a twice-to-beat, but their chances will depend on the outcome of the other remaining games in the eliminations.
San Miguel regained sole possession of first Saturday when it came back to beat Alaska, 109-96, in Batangas City. The Beermen improved to 7-2, half-game ahead of the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (7-3).
Fajardo, who is scheduled to return home today along with the rest of the Gilas contingent from Melbourne, won’t be the only players missing today as San Miguel still awaits for Alex Cabagnot to recover from a foot injury.
Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter and Arwind Santos lead the charge for San Miguel against Kia, a team which would need to produce a perfect game to end the elims on a winning note.
Kia dropped to 1-9 after a 108-91 defeat to GlobalPort two nights ago at the Big Dome.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine begins a tough stretch of games that will also see the Elasto Painters play the Beermen on Feb. 28 and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on March 2.
Rain or Shine will be without Gabe Norwood, likewise because of Gilas duty.