The San Miguel Beermen gained the upper hand again in the semifinal series against the Meralco Bolts with a 96-91 win in Game 3 last Sunday. Will the Beermen go up 3-1 on Friday? Or, will the Bolts even it all up again?
Catch this game live on Wednesday, August 10 at 3 pm, Manila time.
Meralco Bolts (1-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Aaron Black
- SG: Chris Newsome
- SF: Allein Maliksi
- PF: Cliff Hodge
- C: Raymond Almazan
Maybe it’s time for the Bolts to get Raymond Almazan playing heavy minutes again, especially after the way Junemar Fajardo gutted Meralco’s defense in Game 3. The Bolts found success in Game 2 with Almazan coming off the bench and playing in just 17 minutes, but that tactic did not fly at all in Game 3. There’s no better body in Meralco that could offer some semblance of a deterrent against Fajardo than Almazan.
Raymar Jose can’t be playing more minutes than Almazan, too, even though the former has been a pleasant surprise in the semis, thus far. Apart from that, Almazan can take away pressure from the likes of Aaron Black and Chris Newsome on the rebounding department. Black and Newsome had 13 rebounds (10 defensive) together in Game 3, which helped Meralco win the rebounding battle, 50-45, but it also came at the cost of missing some opportunities to set things up quicker on offense.
San Miguel Beermen (2-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Chris Ross
- SG: CJ Perez
- SF: Marcio Lassiter
- PF: Rodney Brondial
- C: June Mar Fajardo
As mentioned earlier, Fajardo got what he wanted whenever he wanted in Game 3. The six-time PBA MVP had a double-double of 21 points and 16 rebounds in San Miguel’s second win of the series, playing more aggressively in hunting for baskets, as evidenced by his zero-assist output and a total of 16 attempts from the free-throw line. And then there’s CJ Perez, who ripped Meralco’s defense for 26 points on 10/23 shooting from the field.
With Fajardo and Perez alternately dropping bombs on Meralco, the Beermen survived an atrocious shooting night from Marcio Lassiter, who only scored 3 points on 1/8 shooting. Lassiter has scored in single digits two games in a row just once in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup so far, so he can be expected to rebound stronger on Wednesday – definitely not going to be a good sight to have for the Bolts, who are already pulling their hairs in thinking of ways to slow down Fajardo and Perez.
Spread: San Miguel (-6.5) covers the spread.
Over/Under: The Under (194.5) hits.