Friday, July 27, 2018

It's show time

Both with a good amount of rest and preparation after the semi-finals, the San Miguel Beermen and the Barangay Ginebra Kings are expected to be at their best as they start their PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-seven title showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday.

Tipoff is at 7 p.m. after the traditional callout ceremony to start a PBA finale.

A matchup made in heaven, the Beermen and the Kings could well engage in a fierce showdown right in the series opener.

"As I always say, Game One is important in any series. We coaches prepare hard for this game. So this game will be very exciting," said SMB coach Leo Austria.

"I appreciate the extra time after the semis. We got time to rest and prepare, and this makes it a quality Game One," said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

"The three days of rest for us and four days for them will be beneficial to both teams. I'm not sure if there's an edge. They have a great momentum and we have a great momentum. It would be a great Game One," Cone added.

For most coaches, it's anybody's game. Not a few call it fight for the ages with a matchup pitting great champion teams, two imposing big men, two explosive imports and two brilliant minds.

San Miguel is up 4-1 in championship face-offs with Ginebra. But the Beermen still ache to beat the Kings in chase of a possible second jewel to a possible grand slam.

It would be remembered that the Beermen were also on course for a Triple Crown last year when dealt a painful loss by the Kings in their Governors Cup quarterfinals matchup last year.

June Mar Fajardo has an old score to settle with Greg Slaughter.

"Nagharap kami sa finals noon sa Cebu, talo kami. Sana ngayon, ako naman ang manalo," said Fajardo.

By the numbers, it's a series of offense versus defense.

The Beermen are No. 2 in the tourney on offense, averaging 106.35 points a game as against the Kings' 98.82. But Ginebra is No. 3 on defense, giving away only 93.5 points as against SMB's 103.

San Miguel has the edge on rebounds, 53.3-52.8, but Ginebra is up on assists, 26.1-24.2. SMB does better in blocking shots, 5.8-3.7, but Ginebra gets more steals, 9.1-8.8. The Beermen score more fastbreak points, 16.1-11, but the Kings hit better from beyond the arc with their 33.2-percent clip as against SMB's 31.7 percent.

Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman themselves sport almost identical numbers.

Brownlee averages 28.08 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks while Balkman norms 28.07 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.2 blocks.(SB)

source: PBA.PH

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