Beermen vow comeback, but Aces will tighten noose

The Philippine Star

Game today (Quezon Convention Center)

7 p.m. – Alaska vs San Miguel

Game One: Alaska 100, San Miguel 91

Game Two: Alaska 83, San Miguel 80


MANILA, Philippines – Alaska Milk will be out to tighten the noose on San Miguel Beer as it goes for a commanding three-games-to-nil lead even as the Beermen hope to draw strength and inspiration from the home crowd as championship action shifts to the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena tonight.

SMB coach Leo Austria is banking on the support of his Quezon province mates in this rare PBA championship match on the road set at 7 p.m.

“In our situation right now, we need all the support that we can get,” said Austria ahead of Game Three of the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup Finals between the Alaska Milk Aces and the San Miguel Beermen.

“Everybody loves a winner. Alaska is winning so I’m not sure if we’ll have the Lucena people on our side. But I’m sure my kababayans from Sariaya will come and cheer for us,” Austria also said.

The Aces will try to put the Beermen on a deeper hole, gunning for victory No. 3 following their 100-91 win in Game One and 83-80 triumph in Game Two.

Alaska coach Alex Compton admits they have a huge break on the knee injury sustained by SMB ace behemoth June Mar Fajardo.

“It would be an entirely different series if June Mar is in there,” said Compton.

For good measure, the Aces have also been preparing for Fajardo’s comeback. They don’t want to be caught flat-footed by the return of the 6-foot-10 Cebuano giant any time in the series.

On Wednesday, Fajardo finally showed up in practice, but stayed on the sideline as he’s still in pain.

Austria said he would rather have Fajardo pass on the Lucena trip. “There will be a lot of activities there. It may hinder his recovery,” said Austria.

The SMB bench chieftain vowed they would come out fighting even on the continued absence of Fajardo.

The SMB players, meanwhile, are optimistic overhauling a 0-2 deficit in a best-of-seven series is “doable.”

“It’s really doable. It we take a look at the first two games, we can see that we could’ve won both games,” said gunner/defender Ronald Tubid.

“We just need to have some pride. We’re the defending champions. We have to come out as the champion team that we are. We must show we can do it even without June Mar,” Tubid added.

The Aces, meanwhile, are determined to press on to achieve a first championship since the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup.

“We’re doing well playing as a team. It’s really about teamwork and we should not deviate from that,” said Alaska forward Calvin Abueva.             

For the record, 37-of-43 is the winning record among teams who have enjoyed a 2-0 advantage in a PBA best-of-seven series. It means only six have survived being in a 0-2 hole.

Three-zero is an insurmountable lead.

“If we can do it, why not? That’s really the goal of the team, but we can’t relax. San Miguel is still a very dangerous foe,” said Abueva.












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