SAN MIGUEL Beer and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel face off in a critical Game Three of their best-of-five semifinal series in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen, the defending champions and the Kings take the floor at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the finals against the victor in the Meralco-TNT Katropa semifinal duel.
San Miguel Beer tied the series with a 95-92 win in Game Two on Wednesday behind a balanced scoring led by import Elijah Millsap and reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) June Mar Fajardo.
Millsap and Fajardo finished with 25 and 18 points, respectively, but unlike in their 108-115 loss in Game One, Head Coach Leo Austria drew contributions from his second unit led by Ronald Tubid and seldom-used Yancy de Ocampo.
“I have to appreciate the players in spite of being tired at down and their morale down. I salute them for their composure,” Austria said after their Game Two win that pruned the series into a best-of-three affair.
“As I’ve said, this series will be a chess match. We learned our lessons from our last game. I hope this win can give us momentum, but it will be hard because both teams will continue to make adjustments,” he added.
In their series opener, Austria used only eight players with Millsap, Fajardo and Arwind Santos playing at least 40 minutes each.
In Game Two, the Beermen dug deep in its roster and de Ocampo, Tubid and even Jay-R Reyes provided quality minutes that allowed the starters to take a breather, especially Fajardo who suffered a cut in his eyebrow.
Image credits: Roy Domingo