Jun 23, 2022

Beermen vs Kings -- A Friday thriller?

HEAVYWEIGHT clash or duel of the faves.

That's the keenly awaited face-off between San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra that is unfolding at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Friday.

Both brace for a battle as these titans - with a combined 14 crowns in the last 18 conferences - collide at 6 p.m. with the Beermen staking their clean slate and pole position in PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup.

June Mar Fajardo and his teammates have had success in their determined bid to start strong in the season, going 3-0 with victories over Phoenix Super LPG (108-100), NLEX (100-92) and Magnolia Chicken Timplados (87-81).

"We want a strong start. Ayaw na namin laging naghahabol at minsan nga pasang awa lang ang pasok sa playoffs," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.

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The Kings themselves have had an early hot run, getting tripped by the Hotshots (84-89) but picking themselves up and getting back on track with a come-from-behind 83-75 win over the Road Warriors.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone said their triumph over NLEX was crucial, especially as they have no big room for preparations and big adjustments in playing the Beermen 48 hours later.

They were tested by the Road Warriors, and their escape could serve them in good stead for their tiff with San Miguel.

"I thought the guys did a great job of turning around mentally and staying in the game until we can get a little run going, a momentum going, and the momentum just caught with the crowd, carrying us to the very end," said Cone.

Their starters of Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger, Arvin Tolentino and LA Tenorio carried the bulk of the job with Stanley Pringle once again sidelined by an injury.

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He remains doubtful against the Beermen with his strained hamstring.

The Beermen, however, have their own health issues. Vic Manuel played just a few minutes the last time out while Terrence Romeo was out. (SB)