Don’t look now, but the San Miguel Beermen are now in the upper third of the standings after consecutive wins. Will the Beermen keep on rolling? Or, will the Fuel Masters turn on their boosters and stop San Miguel’s streak?
Catch this game live on November 5 at 6:45 pm, Manila time.
The San Miguel Beermen (5-2)
If the PBA bubble was a bar fight, then the Beermen are the ones you’d see smashing bottles on top of the bad guys’ heads, as there seems to be no stopping Leo Austria’s men of late. San Miguel has extended its unbeaten run to four games after taking down the Blackwater Elite with a 90-88 win on Tuesday.
San Miguel’s resurgence runs parallel with the rise of big man Mo Tautuaa, who banged in 26 points to go with 14 rebounds and two assists in 45 minutes of floor duty against Blackwater. Prior to that, Tautuaa muscled out 23 points and grabbed five rebounds during San Miguel’s 89-82 win over the Meralco Bolts on Oct. 28. All of a sudden, Tautaa has become the team’s leading scorer so far this conference, with 19.43 points per game.
Phoenix’s defense is going to clamp down on Tautuaa, but the presence of Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, and Alex Cabagnot will make decisons on that end of the floor harder for the Fuel Masters. Lassiter is becoming efficient with his outside shooting again, with Tautaa attracting extra defensive focus inside. Lassiter is averaging 15.1 points per game and shooting 37 3FG% through seven games in the bubble.
The Phoenix Fuel Masters (5-3)
The Fuel Masters recharged with a win on Tuesday, as they emptied their tanks in a 116-94 victory over the hapless TerraFirma Dyip.
Matthew Wright sizzled with 33 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field, including six 3-pointers. He also played great defense, as evidenced by the five steals he recorded. Wright has been a marked man in every game in this conference, but no one has yet to take him out of the equation of Phoenix’s offense that is one of only two in the league averaging at least 100 points per game. Calvin Abueva, meanwhile, went off with a triple-double of 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Fuel Masters spread the floor well, with almost everyone on the team capable of hitting treys — even big men Justin Chua and Jason Perkins, who are averaging 2.0 and 1.0 threes per game, respectively. As a team, the Fuel Masters are second in the bubble with 12.63 3-pointers made per contest on 34 3FG%.
The Beermen are just not that deep enough to handle and keep up with Phoenix’s offense that just became even scarier with the return of Abueva. The Fuel Masters pull away in the fourth in this game and score a 100-92 win.