San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa, both just starting to get going again, clash in an early matchup following their recent Commissioner’s Cup title playoff, both seeking a second straight win in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
Despite little preparation for the season-ending tourney, both teams got to a winning start with the Beermen smashing the Blackwater Elite, 118-93, while the Texters whipped the Kia Picanto, 106-96.
With those warm-up games, the Beermen and the Texters should be in a better groove as they mix it up at 7 p.m.
The two teams slug it out in a grudge match before lending key players (San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and TNT’s Jason Castro and RR Pogoy) to Gilas Pilipinas for the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon slated Aug. 8-20.
With the help of Charles Rhodes, the Beermen beat the Texters and their import Josh Smith, four-games-to-two, in the recent Commissioner’s Cup.
The Beermen are now with Wendell McKines as they chase the final gem in a possible grand slam.
The Texters, on the other hand, are now reinforced by Mike Craig, who had a verbal spat with the Beermen while being a spectator during the second conference finale.
Craig put in 21 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in a rare triple-double PBA debut.
Meanwhile, McKines had 19 markers, 12 boards and five dish-offs in his first game with the Beermen.
Both teams showed no rustiness from their breaks.
"I think this is our best start (coming off a championship). I'm proud of my players, despite the long break, yung iba extended pa, makikita mo pa rin na sharp sila," said SMB coach Leo Austria.
TNT coach Nash Racela was as surprise on how they performed in their conference debut.
“To be honest, we didn’t know what to expect as we prioritized rest (after the Commissioner’s Cup finals). We made sure we gave our players a needed rest. We didn’t have any tune-up game for this conference,” said Racela.
“But we should learn how to adjust to the officiating. The way they whistled was a lot different on how they made the calls the last time we played. Because we didn’t have tune-up games, we’re not able to adjust right away,” Racela also said.
A big plus for both SMB and TNT was bringing in their imports early.
Craig’s triple-double job was a clear indication he’s already well familiar with his teammates.
McKines said he feels good.
“I feel like I’m jelling pretty good. I’ve been here for over two months now, so I think that was a wise decision by both of us by bringing me here and watching their journey to the championship,” said McKines.