Mar 14, 2023

Beermen, Road Warriors duel for Top 4 spot

WITH the return of the All-Star Game over, the PBA clubs go back to the business of sealing playoff spots.

It's a swing from Passi to Pasig with third-running San Miguel Beer and current No. 4 NLEX shooting for an outright Top 4 seat as they clash in a vital tiff in the mainer of the penultimate play date of the PBA Governors' Cup eliminations at the PhilSports Arena.

The Beermen take their first of two shots at a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarters versus the Road Warriors who will be in a virtual playoff match in the 5:45 p.m. tiff.

Coach Jorge Gallent and his troops, at 7-2, automatically join TNT and Barangay Ginebra as among top tiers with a win versus the Road Warriors. Should they lose, they take another shot at it versus the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters Friday in the same venue.

At 7-3, coach Frankie Lim and the Road Warriors are in a must-win situation in their Top 4 bid.

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A win seals the deal for NLEX. A loss will drop them to a tie for fourth with the Meralco Bolts and the Magnolia Hotshots at 7-4. In this scenario, the Bolts claim the No. 4 spot with their superior quotient.

The Beermen wage a battle minus June Mar Fajardo, who was hit by a knee injury in their EASL Champions Week stint in Japan.

As per SMB team manager Gee Abanilla, the six-time MVP winner will be out for six weeks due to a grade 3 medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury.

Without the 6-foot-10 giant, import Cameron Clark and guys like CJ Perez, Vic Manuel, Jericho Cruz, Marcio Lassiter, Moala Tautuaa, Chris Ross and Simon Enciso have to step up.

The Beermen resume Governors Cup campaign after their 105-103 loss to TNT last Feb. 19. (SB)