May 23, 2024

Beermen determined to sweep semis series versus E-Painters

RAIN or Shine is down but not yet out and would be looking to pull the rug from under San Miguel Beer once again when they resume their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel Friday at the MOA Arena.

The top-seeded Beermen pulled off a 117-107 win last Wednesday that gave them a 3-0 lead and on the brink of wrapping up the best-of-seven series.

Coach Jorge Gallent said his SMB crew must approach what would be the close-out game with at least the same desperate mind-set as Rain or Shine.

"We really have to bring the energy and we really have to step on the gas, especially du'n sa Game 4, because I'm sure Rain or Shine will come out smoking," stated Gallent.

"We just have to match that and do what we've been doing. Then I think we're gonna be okay," added Gallent. "We'll just do it step by step. In case it (sweep) is there, it's there. If not, we just have to work harder in Game 5."

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Even coach Yeng Guiao had to admit his Elasto Painters are in a virtual mission impossible, but that doesn't mean they would go down without another big fight.

"At 3-0, all you can think about right now is try to get over one game and try not to be swept," said Guiao following the well-attended Game 3 at the Dasmarinas Arena in Cavite.

"Iyon lang naman ang p'wede mong isipin at this point."

Still, Guiao can't help but be disappointed with the Game 3 outcome which came after numerous his team did that made for a much closer game than the 89-106 drubbing they received in Game 2.

Rain or Shine managed to limit June Mar Fajardo to just a 4-of-11 field shooting for 11 points, about 11 below his series average, and also finished with 22 fastbreak points after totaling 17 in the series' first two games.

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With Beau Belga booming in six triples and Santi Santillan, Keith Datu and Andrei Caracut three each, the E-Painters complemented their running game with an 18-of-46 clip from beyond the arc.

It's just that SMB more than made up for its four less triples by shooting an efficient 34-of-67 from within the arc and punctuated its 63-51advantage off the boards with a plus-15 count in second chance points.

Fajardo's scoring slack was also more than made up for when seven Beermen finished in double figures, led by CJ Perez's 23 points alongside a career-high 14 rebounds and Marcio Lassiter's 21 points built around five treys.

"Nasasayangan lang kami dito sa opportunity. This could have been our best chance to win against San Miguel. We could have been back in the race. It was a crucial game. You go down 0-3, it's almost impossible to get back," opined Guiao.

"But if we had (a) 1-2 (deficit), medyo maganda pa iyon, eh. Medyo maganda pa odds noon," Guiao also said.

"Siguro huwag lang kaming maging complacent. Hindi pa naman tapos itong series," said Don Trollano, who racked up 20 points and 10 rebounds in Game 3.

"Unahan sa apat na panalo ito, so iyon lang, we just have to be focused. Huwag kaming maging complacent kahit lamang kami ng 3 and 0." (NC)