May 23, 2023

Beermen, Fuel Masters clash in Wednesday mainer at Ynares Arena

AMONG the things to watch in PBA On Tour is the kind of game San Miguel Beer will brandish after one full conference under coach Jorge Gallent.

The Beermen plunge into action in the preseason series presented by ARENA Plus and sponsored by Bingo Plus Wednesday, tangling with the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in the 7:30 p.m. mainer Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Taking over from Leo Austria prior to the last Governors Cup, Gallent steered the Beermen to second place behind TNT Tropang Giga (10-1) in the elimination round with a 9-2 win-loss record.

Gallent and his SMB crew blasted the Converge FiberXers, 121-105, in the quarterfinals, but then found themselves ranged against the Justin Brownlee-led Barangay Ginebra team in the semifinals and bombed out without winning a single game in a best-of-five series.

And it's easy to anticipate the Beermen's determination and eagerness to return to the floor and show what they've got.

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They're among the favorites for a good showing in the "On Tour," being the reigning Philippine Cup kings.

They're the odds-on picks versus the Fuel Masters though it's uncertain whether June Mar Fajardo is to play coming from another bout with injury.

Chris Ross, CJ Perez and Marcio Lassiter are sure to be in top shape, fresh from their stint with Gilas Pilipinas in its successful redemption drive in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.

The Beermen were tied with the TNT Tropang Giga as the second best team behind the Gin Kings in the last PBA season, posting a cumulative 38-21 win-loss card.

Phoenix was at No. 9 with 13 victories against 23 losses.

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The Fuel Masters missed the Philippine Cup playoffs but made the post-elims plays in the two reinforced tourneys, the last one then under debuting PBA head coach Jamike Jarin.

For Wednesday's game, it's also interesting to see the progress of the Fuel Masters. (SB)