San Miguel, NLEX eye early PH Cup lead

San Miguel Beer and NLEX square off for a chance to gain their second win and the early lead Friday, June 10 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Photo from PBA

The Beermen-Road Warriors tussle is set at 3 p.m., two days after the both teams began their campaign in the season-opening conference on a winning note.

Magnolia Chicken Timplados and newcomer Converge hope to bounce back after falling short on opening day in the other game which tips off at 6 p.m.

SMB banked on an all-around performance from June Mar Fajardo to beat Phoenix Super LPG, 108-100, while NLEX rallied past Terrafirma, 105-102, despite being down 16 at halftime.

Fajardo showed why he’s primed for a return to his old form, posting 24 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and three blocks for the Beermen.

Talent-laden SMB also got key contributions from Chris Ross, Vic Manuel, CJ Perez and Rodney Brondial.

NLEX’s comeback win had plenty of heroes as well, namely Kevin Alas, Calvin Oftana, Don Trollano and veteran JR Quinahan.

Jericho Cruz will serve as a subplot in this contest as he faces NLEX for the first time. Cruz left the Road Warriors during the middle of last season’s Governors’ Cup eliminations and signed with the Beermen as an unrestricted free agent.

In the nightcap, Magnolia seeks to get into the win column after being handed a 78-72 loss by defending champion TNT in the Season 47 opener last June 5.

The Hotshots led at some time during the contest until the Tropang Giga were able to make some timely shots to take the win.

One particular player Magnolia would like to see rebound is Paul Lee, who was held to four points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Converge lost its first-ever game in the big league, losing a seven-point lead in the fourth before suffering a 79-77 defeat at the hands of Rain or Shine.

But the FiberXers liked what they saw from the youngsters such as rookies Justin Arana and Tyrus Hill and sophomore guard Alec Stockton.