Mar 16, 2023

Beermen try to make it back-to-back versus E-Painters

HAVING realized its immediate target of securing a top four slot in the quarterfinals, one would think San Miguel Beer would take it easy in its last game in the eliminations of the PBA Governors Cup.

Not so fast, according to coach Jorge Gallent who has his own reasons why he wants his Beermen to maintain their razor-sharp edge going to the match against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Friday at the PhilSports Arena.

After absorbing a fourth straight loss last March 4 that dropped it to a 2-8 slate, Rain or Shine has dropped out of the quarterfinals race and is a sure 10th place finisher. It is now left with the humble goal of simply winding up its season on a winning note.

The match should also matter little for 8-2 SMB, which could finish the elims as high as No. 2 with a win or as low as No. 4 with a loss, partly depending on the result of the other match pitting TNT and Barangay Ginebra later in the evening.

Either way, the Beermen would be enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage against whoever they face in the last eight duels that begin Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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Gallent still wants his charges to play with the same aggressiveness they displayed in a 120-106 win over NLEX last Wednesday, netting them the win-once reward in the next round, while they continue getting fully used to the idea of playing without prized center June Mar Fajardo.

Fajardo suffered an MCL injury during SMB's stint in the EASL Champions' Week earlier this month and would be out for at least another six weeks.

The absence of the six-time MVP was hardly felt as Cameron Clark, Vic Manuel, Mo Tautuaa and Rodney Brondial ably filled up the lanes for SMB while CJ Perez, Jericho Cruz and Allyn Bulanadi were foremost among those who chipped in on the offensive end.

"I hope they continue playing hard and playing with a lot of effort because I know June Mar is a big factor here, so we really have to double up on offense and defense," said Gallent.

The Beermen also want Terrence Romeo to continue getting his old lethal form back against the E-Painters as part of the process of his full recovery from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him in their first nine games.

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"I'm sure he's gonna get more minutes on Friday," said Gallent of Romeo, who played his first 2:53 of the conference against NLEX and missed his only shot of the game.

"Everybody's happy that Terrence is back, and I just hope that he's fully recovered so he can get his game back before the playoffs," added Gallent.(NC)