Aug 13, 2022

With past lessons in mind, Beermen go for kill vs Bolts

SAN Miguel coach Leo Austria insists each game against Meralco is a learning experience.

On top of the list should be the lessons learned from their painful downfall in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals where the Beermen blew a twice-to-beat advantage against the Bolts.

The Beermen will surely have that in mind as they face the Bolts in Game 6 of Season 47 all-Filipino semis, carrying the same "win-once" advantage with a 3-2 edge in the race-to-four-games series.

"Ilang beses na nila kaming pinahiya, tinalo nila kami while having the twice-to-beat advantage," Austria has said earlier in the series.

The Beermen try to slay the ghost of that playoff defeat as they seek to deliver the killer blow versus the Bolts at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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"We'll be ready," said guard Jericho Cruz, something they had not actually shown in two past playoff face-offs versus coach Norman Black and his gritty troops.

Also beaten by the Bolts in the 2021 Governors' Cup quarterfinals, the Beermen will have all those defeats as extra motivation as they try to close this one out and punch a return ticket to the all-Filipino finals.

Black, however, said they will come out to battle in a bid to prolong the series and stay in the hunt for a first Philippine Cup finals stint for the franchise.

The Bolts put up a tough fight in the dispute for the 3-2 series lead Friday, but was beaten by the Beermen with their solid endgame punch.

It has been a nip-and-tuck showdown, and the question is whether the Beermen will finally be able to score the first successive wins in the series.

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The Beermen had their earlier triumphs in Games 1 and 3, but the Bolts struck back in Games 2 and 4. (SB)