Unbeaten TNT and defending five-time champion San Miguel Beer square off in one of the possible Finals previews on Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The Tropang Giga go for their third straight win in the 6:45 p.m. match against a Beermen squad expected to come out with a mean streak after losing to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their bubble debut last Tuesday.
Rain or Shine, meanwhile, shoots for win No. 2 opposite Terrafirma in the first game at 4 p.m.
TNT started the season by contrasting results, escaping past Alaska 100-95 last Sunday and routing Terrafirma 112-101 two days later.
In the process, the Tropang Giga made history as the first team in 30 years to have two players score 40 points in back-to-back games. RR Pogoy fired a career-high 45 points against Alaska and Ray Parks Jr. also set a new personal best of 40 opposite Terrafirma.
Despite the two wins, coach Bong Ravena is bracing for San Miguel to show its championship form even after absorbing an 87-83 loss to Rain or Shine.
“They are a champion team and they know how to play. So sa amin lang is kailangan yung team namin is how to come out with a good game against San Miguel,” said Ravena.
SMB failed to replicate its pre-pandemic win over Magnolia last March 8 after allowing Rain or Shine to open the game with a 16-0 lead and spending most of the game trying to catch up.
But the Beermen did have good games from Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Mo Tautuaa, who has flourished in a bigger role with June Mar Fajardo out with an injury.
Tautuaa is averaging 18.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the first two games.