Dragons do bleed as Beermen hope to make another 'Beeracle'

San Miguel is the only team to come back from a 0-3 deficit in the finals in all of basketball and the defending champion is looking to pull off the improbable once more, albeit in a more shallow hole, when it tries to crawl its way out of a 0-2 deficit in their best-of-five semifinals series against the mighty Bay Area.

June Mar Fajardo continues to anchor SMB as it tries to make another Beeracle run (PBA Images)

The Beermen did the first step in doing so.

On Sunday, Dec. 18, SMB scored its first victory and cut the series deficit to 2-1. But most importantly, it was able to convince itself that in front of its mighty opponents, it is capable of winning and the Dragons weren’t entirely unbeatable.

The narrow 98-96 win, however, also showed that it would take all of the Beermen’s firepower to just make the Dragons bleed, even more so to completely turn them back in the series.

Such realizations made San Miguel head coach Leo Austria believe that they don't have the momentum even after the big win, although that certainly gives them enough confidence when they try to drag the series to a rubber match.

“Momentum is not an advantage for the team (but) the confidence na binigay sa amin ng game na ito, they beat us three times in the elimination and in the first two games, but this is indication na Bay Area is beatable,” said the veteran mentor.

“As long as we play hard. We play as a team both in offense and defense and then defined ang roles ng mga players, if we have a good game plan, if we follow the good game plan, I think we have a good chance of beating them,” he added.

That was exactly what transpired when they managed to stay alive in Game 3. Unlike in Game 1, when they led by as many as 16 points but faltered towards the end, import Devon Scott and Jericho Cruz made sure to complete the biggest defensive stops in Bay Area’s final possession, foiling the attempts of Kobey Lam and Hayden Blankley to preserve the win.

And contrary to Game 2 when the Beermen were outclassed -- with June Mar Fajardo’s 34 points being the lone bright spot, CJ Perez, Terrence Romeo and Simon Enciso, who drilled the clutch triple in the final 12 seconds, all came out strong and took their share of the cudgels.

“I think ang mga players pride ang umiiral dahil we are up against a foreign team, it’s a good challenge for them, win or lose as long as we fight for the pride for the Filipino people we are okay,” said Austria.

SMB looks to put the pressure on Bay Area in Game 4 on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Mall of Asia Arena. Hoping to replicate a portion of that “Beeracle” run it has done in the past, Austria wants his wards to remain focused on the task at hand especially as Bay Area hasn’t been defeated in consecutive fashion in its entire stay in the country.

“We have to remain focused and this is a good challenge for the team kasi alam nila na kalaban namin ay best team so at least we have to give them a good fight,” he added