by Jonas Terrado
Game Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Magnolia
(Magnolia leads series 2-1)
Magnolia is determined to put San Miguel Beer in uncharted territory and a commanding 3-1 lead in Game 4 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots are expected to be more determined in beating the Beermen anew as they look to move a win shy of capturing the season-opening conference in the 7 p.m. match.
Another defensive battle may bode well for Magnolia claiming Sunday’s third game, 86-82, by almost shutting down San Miguel’s major weapons.
But coach Chito Victolero is preparing for a major fightback from San Miguel as it seeks to regain its offensive brilliance.
“Hopefully we can sustain this kind of game,” said Victolero, who will rely anew on Mark Barroca, Ian Sangalang, Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon and veteran center Rafi Reavis.
Reavis and Sangalang will be tasked again in guarding San Miguel star June Mar Fajardo, who they forced to bleed for his 17 points and 14 rebounds in Game 3.
Reserve big men Kyle Pascual and Rodney Brondial could also play integral roles in Magnolia’s bid to once again frustrate Fajardo in the paint.
A better offensive showing is what San Miguel coach Leo Austria wants to see in his team’s quest to turn the series into a best-of-three affair.
While Fajardo can easily get back to his dominant form, the Beermen are looking to see Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter and Terrence Romeo see off their shooting woes.
Meanwhile, Fajardo is expected to win his sixth straight Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference award which will be presented prior to the start of Game 4.