The stage is set for the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup finals, with the San Miguel Beermen and the Meralco Bolts facing off in a best-of-7 series that starts this Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Will the Beermen take the first game? Or, will the Bolts stun everyone by scoring an upset right away?

Catch this game live on Wednesday,  June 5, 2024 at 7:30 pm, Manila time.

San Miguel Beermen (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Chris Ross
  • CJ Perez
  • Marcio Lassiter
  • Rodney Brondial
  • June Mar Fajardo

The Beermen are entering the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup finals as the clear favorites to win it. They have been dominant so far in the playoffs. Outside of their one shock loss at the hands of the Terrafirma Dyip back in the quarterfinals, the Beermen have looked every bit the team to beat so far in the postseason. San Miguel is coming off a semifinal sweep of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. Thanks to their quick disposal of Yeng Guiao’s squad, San Miguel managed to get several more days of rest than Meralco heading into this conference’s grand finale. 

Rust from such a long layoff could potentially affect the Beermen in Game 1 of the finals, but the ample time to recover must also be so beneficial for the aging bodies of the likes of Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, and Junemar Fajardo. As for their leading scorer, CJ Perez, he’ll be looking to set the tone for the Beermen just as he’s always done this conference. Perez is leading the Beermen with 20.8 points per game while Fajardo has been a double-double machine with averages of 17.4 points and 14.6 boards, while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. He had a monster stat line of 23 points and 19 rebounds when the Beermen beat Meralco beat San Miguel early last May, 95-92.

Meralco Bolts (0-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • Christopher Banchero
  • Allein Maliksi
  • Chris Newsome
  • Clifford Hodge
  • Raymond Almazan

For the first time in Meralco history, the Bolts are going to play in an All-Filipino conference finals. That’s after the Bolts outlasted the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the best-of-7 semifinal series. Meralco had to battle back from 1-0 and 3-2 series deficits in that matchup before finally eliminating the Barangay. In Game 7 of the series, Chris Banchero and Chris Newsome powered the Bolts’ 78-69 win with 24 and 20 points, respectively. Banchero is playing like a man on a mission of late. 

While the Bolts’ top options are always going to be Newsome and Allein Maliksi, Meralco will have to keep riding the productive hands of Banchero, who averaged 16.3 points in the final four games of the Ginebra series. Banchero and the other non-Newsome/Maliksi players will have to show up right away in the finals, similar to how those same players helped Meralco stun San Miguel just before the playoffs. In that win over the Beermen, eight Bolts scored at least five points and five had at least 10 points, including Cliff Hodge, who had 20 points and 13 rebounds. Keeping up with the Beermen’s deep roster will be a big challenge for Meralco, but the Bolts also have guys like Kier Quinto, Raymond Almazan, Anjo Caram, and Banchero, who could provide meaningful contributions. 


Spread: Meralco Bolts (+6.5)

Over/Under: Under (190)