by Jonas Terrado
Game Sunday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. – Magnolia vs San Miguel
(Series tied 1-1)
Defending champion San Miguel Beer hopes to get another balanced scoring attack while Magnolia aims to regain the tempo on the defensive end when they slug it out for a 2-1 lead in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Adjustments are expected to come out in the 6:30 p.m. match after the two teams showcased their own strengths that resulted in a split of the first two games.
San Miguel got its usual form back in Friday’s Game 2 with seven players scoring in double figures to produce two 20-point leads before prevailing 108-101.
The Beermen’s offensive burst was a stark contrast to their 99-94 defeat in Game 1 last Wednesday when the Hotshots forced multiple turnovers led by their backcourt and turned it into fastbreak points.
“We know Magnolia will come back hard in the next game,” said Austria, who lauded the ample support given to star center June Mar Fajardo in Game 2.
“What happened (in Game 2) was that we were able to set up plays and not concentrating much on June Mar,” added Austria.
Chris Ross, Terrence Romeo, Christian Standhardinger and Marcio Lassiter combined for 56 points after they were held to just 15 in Game 1.
San Miguel will also try to play with better composure after Romeo was ejected in the fourth quarter when he lost his cool over the way the officiating was handled.
The Beermen were quick to downplay the situation, though it remains to be seen if the incident could affect the complexion of the best-of-seven affair.
Meanwhile, Magnolia coach Chito Victolero is eager to see his players respond with a much-improved defensive resolve.
Ian Sangalang, Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee and Mark Barroca are eager to atone for the setback put the momentum back in Magnolia’s hands.
“We need to dictate the tempo of the game, we need to dictate our defense and play more aggressive,” Victolero. “We need to play Game 3 with more control.”