Both the Meralco Bolts and the San Miguel Beermen are sporting 3-2 records and will come into this game with two-game win streaks. Which team will extend its unbeaten run and climb up a notch in the standings?
Catch this game live on October 28 at 6:45 pm, Manila time.
The Meralco Bolts (3-2)
Chris Newsome and the Bolts are fully charged up after winning both of their last two games. After defeating the Magnolia Hotshots in overtime on Oct. 20, 109-104, Meralco took down sister franchise the NLEX Road Warriors 101-92 on Oct. 23.
Newsome led the team in scoring in those wins, as he scored 23 points against Magnolia and 18 in the NLEX game. So far this conference, the former Ateneo Blue Eagles forward is averaging 13.8 points per game on 46 FG%. Newsome’s athleticism and quickness give opposing defenders a hard time containing him.
What’s also keeping the Bolts afloat is the scoring of Allein Maliksi off the bench, which provides stability for Meralco’s offense that is second in the PBA this conference with 98.4 points per game. Speaking of which, bench scoring is decidedly a Meralco advantage over San Miguel heading into this game, as the Bolts are second overall with 50.2 points per game from their relievers, while the Beermen’s shock troopers are last in the PBA with just 23.8 points per game.
The San Miguel Beermen (3-2)
The Beermen are starting to learn how to win without June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo. They have now reeled in two wins in a row, as they defeated the TerraFirma Dyip, 105-98, and the Alaska Aces, 92-88 last week.
Although the win over the Dyip barely proves anything for the Beermen given the decrepit quality of TerraFirma, the victory against Alaska showed there’s plenty of gas left in the old legs of San Miguel. Alex Cabagnot led the Beermen with 19 points in the Alaska game, while Arwind Santos out up a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Beermen may be led by a bunch of guys approaching their 40s, but their experience and poise are intangible assets which can’t easily be ignored.
The Beermen are shooting well from deep as well, as they’ve drilled 43.8% (32/73) of their 3-point attempts in their last two games.
Without Fajardo as their primary scoring option, Marcio Lassiter and the Beermen have relied on their outside shooting to carry their offense, though, this late explosion from behind the arc also makes them prime for regression, so they will have to find other ways to get higher-percentage buckets.
The steady playmaking of Alex Cabagnot and the defense of Chris Ross in the backcourt will be the difference-makers in this game, which the Beermen will win to the tune of a 99-94 score.