The Magnolia Hotshots have successfully tied the series at 2-2 after doubling down in Game 4 with a 96-85 victory over the San Miguel Beermen, who now have their backs against the wall. Will the Hotshots continue their surge and take the series lead for the first time? Or, will the Beermen show their version of resiliency and hit back hard on Magnolia this Sunday?
Catch this game live on Friday, February 11 at 6150 pm, Manila time.
Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots (2-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- Jio Jalalon
- Paul Lee
- Rome de la Rosa
- Tyler Bey
- Ian Paul Sangalang
Defense brought the Hotshots to the top of the table in the elimination phase and it’s also sparked them into tying the series against the Beermen after falling in a 2-0 hole. Just like in Game 3, Magnolia’s tight defense silenced the Beermen, who shot just 37.0 percent on Friday. What made the Hotshots even harder to solve for San Miguel is Tyler Bey contributing more on offense that time around compared with his performance in Game 3.
Bey had 26 points and 12 rebounds in Game 4, while also playing great defensively, particularly against the San Miguel import Bennie Boatwright, who shot just 5/16. Not to be forgotten is the steady play of Mark Barroca, who has scored 34 points in the last two games. Don’t expect Magnolia’s defense to have a lesser impact in Game 5, especially if seven-time league MVP Junemar Fajardo gets ruled out or limited due to an apparent injury.
San Miguel Beermen (2-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- Chris Ross
- Marcio Lassiter
- CJ Perez
- Bennie Boatwright
- June Mar Fajardo (Questionable)
The biggest question mark for San Miguel heading into Game 5 is the health of Fajardo. The Beermen star big man checked out of Game 4 with five minutes remaining in regulation and did not return because of left calf tightness. However, he did not sound too concerned about it after Game 4.
“OK naman siguro,” Fajardo said following the loss to the Hotshots, while also revealing that he was set to have an ultrasound after Saturday’s practice (h/t Tiebreaker Times. If anything, it’s a good sign that Fajardo implied he was going to practice a day before Game 5.
Should Fajardo miss Game 5, the Beermen will likely start and increase the minutes of Mo Tautuaa, while also expanding even further the usages of the likes of Boatwright and CJ Perez. Boatwright has been shooting badly of late after playing like a house on fire in the first two games of the series. Still, San Miguel will have to see him continue shooting the ball and hope that he breaks out of his slump in Game 5. After all, it was largely because of his shot-making that put the Beermen ahead of the Hotshots after two games in the Finals.
Spread: San Miguel (-3) cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total (190.) hits the Over.