The San Miguel Beermen are a win away from barging into the semifinals round of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup playoffs. Will the Beermen shut out NorthPort in the quarterfinals with a win this Thursday? Or, will the Batang Pier force a Game 3?
Catch this game live on September 30 at 2 pm, Manila time.
The NorthPort Batang Pier (6-5)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Robert Bolick
- SG: Jerrick Balanza
- SF: Jamie Malonzo
- PF: Sidney Onwubere
- C: Greg Slaughter
NorthPort came awfully close to pulling off an upset in Game 1 of its quarterfinals matchup against the Beermen, who scored an 88-87 win in the series opener. Still, the Batang Pier have sent a strong message that they are very much capable of toppling mighty San Miguel. In Game 1, Robert Bolick scored 13 points, while Greg Slaughter had 15 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Sean Anthony came off the bench and fired a team-high 16 points. Anthony, however, could be a game-time decision for Game 2 after suffering an ankle injury late in Game 1. He is listed day-to-day as of this writing, and if can’t go, his absence will be a big blow to the Batang Pier. Given what’s on the line, Anthony might have to brave the pain and play Game 2, though it’s likely he won’t be as effective.
But with Bolick, Slaughter, and Jamie Malonzo, the Batang Pier should still be a huge threat to San Miguel in Game 2, with or without Anthony. Also watch out for Paolo Taha, who went 4-of-5 from the field in Game 1 for 10 points. He could be the x-factor for NorthPort in Game 2.
The San Miguel Beermen (7-4)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Ross
- SG: Terrence Romeo
- SF: Marcio Lassiter
- PF: Arwind Santos
- C: June Mar Fajardo
Alex Cabagnot has still got it. The “Crunchman” added to his long list of clutch heroics with a game-winning basket against the Batang Pier om Game 1. Cabagnot finished the contest with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting off the bench. Speaking of which, the second unit came up big for San Miguel in Game 1.
Apart from Cabagnot, the Beermen also got 15 points from Mo Tautuaa and 14 points from CJ Perez. Overall, the Beermen’s bench outscored NorthPort’s relievers by 20 points, 49-29. That could be the case again in Game 2, especially if Anthony misses Thursday’s meeting. San Miguel simply has the deeper roster, with guys like Perez, Tautuaa, and even Paul Zamar as reserves. Even without Terrence Romeo, the Beermen can score in bunches and overwhelm NorthPort with an offense that greatly compensates for their lax defense.
That doesn’t mean San Miguel is completely devoid of defense. The Beermen can be disruptive too on that end of the floor. Take for example their performance in Game 1 in which they had nine steals and scored 18 points off NorthPort turnovers.
Spread: Expect Game 2 of this series to be close again, even if Sean Anthony doesn’t play. San Miguel’s defense will open plenty of chances for Bolick and company to shine. But better coaching in the end-game will have San Miguel coming off with a win. Take San Miguel straight up and NorthPort to cover (+3.5).
Over/Under: NorthPort’s defense takes a hit with Anthony not in 100% form (if he even plays at all), so expect the Beermen to be better offensively. Bolick will continue to shine along with Slaughter on offense, due to a heavier workload. Take the Over (180.5).