The San Miguel Beermen drew first blood in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, as they took down the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 1, 103-95. Will the Beermen go up 2-0 after Sunday’s contest? Or, will the Hotshots hit back and tie the series up?
Catch this game live on Sunday, February 4at 6:15 pm, Manila time.
Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots (0-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- Jiov Jalalon
- Paul Lee
- Tyler Bey
- Rafi Reavis
- James Laput
A bad shooting night ultimately doomed the Hotshots in Game 1 of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Friday. Magnolia shot just 39 percent from the field, weighed down heavily by a pathetic 3/23 performance from behind the arc. Paul Lee and Tyler Bey simply couldn’t find their rhythm from deep, as they combined for 2/11 on their long-range attempts. However, that kind of sour shooting performance could mean they’re due for positive regression.
Magnolia never really relies much on its outside shooting this conference (last in the league in 3-points made per game) but needed home runs in Game 1 after falling behind big. Perhaps the key for Magnolia is better honest defense, which is a cliched thing to say, but the Hotshots can’t easily generate momentum if they’re letting San Miguel get a ton of chances on the foul line. In Game 1, Magnolia was just 20/25 from the free-throw line, while the Beermen went 27/44. Then, of course, they’re going to need Lee to show up after he scored just six points in the loss.
San Miguel Beermen (1-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- Chris Ross
- Marcio Lassiter
- CJ Perez
- Bennie Boatwright
- June Mar Fajardo
The Beermen remain unstoppable. Dating back to the elimination round, San Miguel has now won 10 games in a row. Bennie Boatwright continues to show why he’s a perfect fit for an already talented and deep San Miguel squad, as he produced a double-double of 28 points and 16 rebounds in Game 1. Meanwhile, CJ Perez had 19 points, Boatwright appears to be a matchup problem for the Hotshots, so expect San Miguel to keep on using him as an attack point.
The twin-tower combo of Junemar Fajardo and Boatwright was too much in Game 1 for the Hotshots, and that could be the case again for Magnolia this Sunday. It will make Magnolia’s life harder if the wings continue to click for the Beermen, in large part because Fajardo and Boatwright attract the defense enough to give guys like CJ Perez and Marcio Lassiter bigger rooms to operate. In Game 1, Perez and Lassiter combined for 35 points, with the latter knocking down four 3-pointers.
Spread: Magnolia (-1.5) covers the spread.
Over/Under: The total (192) hits the Over.