Beermen, E-Painters face-off in battle of champions
April 21, 2017
In closing out its win against Mahindra Wednesday, San Miguel Beer gave June Mar Fajardo and the other key SMB players a welcome breather in preparation for a tough grind ahead. A battle is really expected as San Miguel and a well-rested Rain or Shine squad square off in a PBA Commissioner’s Cup Petron Blaze Saturday Special at the MOA Arena in Pasay City. Both sides look to improve their stocks in the upper half of the chart in the 5:15 p.m. tussle pitting the Philippine Cup champ versus the defending Commissioner’s Cup titlist. San Miguel chases a fifth win in a row while Rain or Shine shoots for a fifth victory in seven starts. SMB coach Leo Austria is wary of the Elasto Painters who are coming off a stirring come-from-behind 96-94 win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters. The E-Painters lost two previous matches before getting back on track with a win they salvaged after trailing by as many as 17 and by nine with only three minutes left to play. “They’re always a dangerous team to play. Mas lalo ngayong galing sa magandang panalo,” said Austria. It was a good win for Rain or Shine going to a nine-day respite. Looking forward to their match with the E-Painters, Austria rested his top guns when they had the game under wraps versus Mahindra. The Beermen thoroughly dominated the Floodbuster, 109-80, even on the reappearance of Manny Pacquiao on the Mahindra bench and despite limited action of Fajardo. The Cebuano behemoth went 0-of-4 from the field and committed one turnover in nine minutes of action in the first half. He ended up with his first scoreless outing in four years as his coach took the luxury of playing his reserves in the second half. Nonetheless, the Beermen completely outclassed the Floodbuster, fashioning out their biggest rout since a 101-72 demolition of Barangay Ginebra in Game Four of their 2016 PBA Governors Cup semifinal showdown.