(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
A Wheeler's Opinion: The Beermen must not give the Gin Kings any chance to come back
Heading into tonight's Game 3, there is a lot at stake. For one team, it's the chance to move within one win away from another Finals appearance. For the other team, it's avoiding putting themselves in a 0-3 series deficit.
If you want a chance to rest your team before the Finals, a sweep will do the trick. That's the goal the San Miguel Beermen have in mind as they will face the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in Game 3 of their best-of-7 series which could very well be the turning point of the series. A win by San Miguel will mean that this series is done as early as Thursday night. A win by Ginebra will allow the Gin Kings to have to the momentum swing towards their favor for Game 4.
And Leo Austria knows one thing: Tim Cone will always have something new under his sleeves just like he did in Game 2 when he used seldom-used Prince Caperal who returned the favor by scoring 26 points- top scoring the Gin Kings while playing for 31 minutes. But Austria also added that given the lack of time to prepare as both coaches aim to rest their players, Tim Cone can't something new but try the same schemes that worked for Ginebra in Game 2- like giving Caperal his minutes.
San Miguel Should Remain Thirsty
If not to the combined heroics of Arwind Santos, June Mar Fajardo and, Marcio Lassiter, the series would have been tied at 1-1 by now.
Overconfidence, according to Leo Austria, was what doomed the Beermen in Game 2 as they committed 20 turnovers and allowed the Gin Kings to lead as much as 15 points. Fortunately, their starting unit pounded on the lapses of Ginebra in the dying moments of the game.
If they want to sweep this series, they cannot allow themselves to be buried early on only to escape from the embarrassing wrath of defeat at the last moment. Not in the playoffs. Especially not against Ginebra. You can't expect to win like that all the time even if June Mar Fajardo scores 40 points.
For San Miguel to keep their reign going behind this semifinal series, they must take advantage of the fact that Greg Slaughter is still out which means June Mar Fajardo should be able to dominate down the low post. The rest of the starters and the bench players, including Von Pessumal, should score more like they did back in Game 1.
If all works well for San Miguel come tonight's Game 3, a sweep would be inevitable. San Miguel has their lapses in Game 2 but came back at the very last moment to steal the victory from Ginebra. Let's hope that there would no need for an extra period to settle Game 3.
For Ginebra, getting themselves back into this series is still possible. Winning tonight should help them boost their confidence level that yes, they can actually beat San Miguel without GregZilla.