Defending champion San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra lock horns not only for playoff implications but also bragging rights on Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The Beermen shoot for a fourth straight win in the 6:45 p.m. battle with a Kings side hungry to finally get their title aspirations back on a proper note following frustrating defeats to the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
Hoping to go into action, Magnolia returns against NorthPort at 4 p.m. with momentum still on its hands after Sunday’s 102-92 triumph over Ginebra.
The Hotshots saw their game postponed last Wednesday against the Blackwater Elite, who were dealt with a situation surrounding one of their players initially testing positive for COVID-19 but later yielding a negative result on his antigen and RT-PCR procedures.
The SMB-Ginebra duel could likely be a prelude to what can happen later in the season held inside the bubble known as Smart Clark Giga City.
SMB has weathered the storm of not only losing June Mar Fajardo last February to an injured shin but also Terrence Romeo when he dislocated his right shoulder that forced him to leave the bubble after just two games.
Their injuries have given teams the confidence of finally ending the Beermen’s reign of five consecutive All-Filipino titles, including Ginebra.
Ginebra showed why at the start with four straight wins before losing to Magnolia, and later to Rain or Shine via an 85-80 overtime decision last Tuesday.
The game could serve as a major test for Mo Tautuaa, who has fill up the void left by Fajardo with an impressive showing in the bubble. He’ll be up against Japeth Aguilar, out to buck his inconsistent performances especially at this point of the eliminations.
Then there’s SMB’s veteran core of Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter, keen on proving themselves against Ginebra’s consistent performers Stanley Pringle and Scottie Thompson and leader LA Tenorio.