Nov 06, 2018

With Fajardo's return, San Miguel coach Austria believes beating Alaska two in a row achievable

San Miguel Beer has had its biggest playoff victories in the June Mar Fajardo era versus Alaska Milk.

The Beermen, in fact, are 3-0 versus the Aces in title showdowns in a four-conference stretch starting in the 2014-15 PBA Philippine Cup.

No surprise, Alaska coach Alex Compton seemed to cringe when told of the possibility of their matchup with the Beermen in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals.

Alas, the Aces couldn't avoid the matchup. A consolation for the Aces is a twice-to-beat advantage, them being the playoffs third seeds.

Alaska takes its first of two cracks at the semifinals versus No. 6 San Miguel at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

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But even with their twice-to-beat edge, the Aces see an uphill climb in the quarters against the Beermen and their ace player June Mar Fajardo.

Compton can only hope Fajardo takes some more rest.

" I know June Mar is a really good guy, I hope he gets better. Ang payo ko lang sa kanya, pahinga ka muna. Sobrang halaga ka sa national team, may future ka. Baka next year ka na lang bumalik," Compton has said, in jest of course.

But the Beermen are bracing for a long playoff ride with Fajardo, hopeful of their chance though they are just the No. 6 seed.

"We will treat the quarterfinals as a best-of-three. We need to win twice to win it, I think it's achievable," said SMB coach Leo Austria.

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The Beermen have put behind them their shattering 81-111 loss to the Meralco Bolts on Saturday.

"It will be a different ball game," said Austria of their quarters tiff with the Aces. "But it we play the same way we did (against Meralco), we would have a hard time."

With Fajardo still recovering from a stress fracture, the Aces whipped the Beermen, 127-119, last Oct. 6.