Now, we have a series. Just when it looked like the San Miguel Beermen were running away with the title, the Magnolia Chicken Timplados responded with a strong Game 3 performance to cut their series deficit in half. Will Magnolia go back-to-back? Or, will San Miguel win Game 4 and move a victory away from clinching the championship?

Catch this game live on Friday,  February 9 at 7:30 pm, Manila time.

Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots (1-2)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Jio Jalalon
  • Paul Lee 
  • Rome de la Rosa
  • Tyler Bey
  • Ian Paul Sangalang

There will be no sweep happening in the Finals, and the Hotshots made sure of that by finally breaking into the win column in the series against San Miguel with an 88-80 victory in Game 3. Magnolia import Tyler Bey scored only 11 points, but his defense on SMB import Bennie Boatwright earned the praise of head coach Chito Victolero, who wants to see the Hotshots reinforcement come up big again defensively in Game 4.

“Tyler is a very skilled player. He’s very athletic. He’s long, he’s quick. I think he’s the best player to assign to Boatwright. Hopefully, next game same thing,” Victolero said after Game 3.

The Hotshots’ defense that was so effective in the elimination round made its presence felt at last in the Finals, as Magnolia held the Beermen to only 34.1% shooting from the field. Paul Lee also shot better in Game 3, scoring 12 points on 5/10 shooting from the field. His production will be crucial for Magnolia, especially if Bey continues to focus more on defending against Boatwright.


San Miguel Beermen (2-1)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Chris Ross
  • Marcio Lassiter
  • CJ Perez
  • Bennie Boatwright
  • June Mar Fajardo

San Miguel learned in Game 3 that “hindi araw-araw, pasko.” After shooting the lights out, particularly from deep in the first two games of the series, the Beermen went as cold as Manila’s February breeze. They were only able to knock down seven of their 36 shots from behind the arc and also committed 20 turnovers. Boatwright also went just 10/28 from the floor for an inefficient 27 points, while CJ Perez garnered just 16 points on 18 field goal attempts. 

Perhaps the Beermen had to give Junemar Fajardo a ton more touches. Fajardo has more PBA MVPs than field-goal attempts in Game 3, scoring only 11 points on 3/5 shooting.  Nevertheless, the Beermen are still very much in a position to re-take control of momentum in the series. Their salty shooting in Game 3 might just be as much the effect of Magnolia’s defense as it was of simple regression. 


Spread: San Miguel (-3.5) covers the spread.

Over/Under: The total (190.5) hits the Over.