It took San Miguel Beer two extra periods to get past Barangay Ginebra, 111-105, in their elimination round clash.
And that could well be an indication on how the two teams will go at each other in their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal showdown beginning Monday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Both teams brace for a battle even as San Miguel sets out the slight pick with their advantage in local manpower led by 6-foot-10 behemoth June Mar Fajardo.
Greg Slaughter won’t be around to engage Fajardo in what could have been an epic clash of giants as the 7-foot-1 Ginebra center is out with an injured knee.
Nonetheless, the two teams are expected to figure in a duel where no quarter is given or taken as they fight for a spot in the finals versus the winner in the TNT KaTropa-Meralco semis matchup.
“Unlike our previous long playoffs, our main guys are all healthy going to battle. So we like our chances,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
Elijah Millsap and his teammates do feel they’re ready as they chase a title repeat in the season-ending tourney.
“It’s all good. We just have to straighten things out and play the way we want to,” said Millsap, out to finish the job started by AZ Reid and Mike Singletary.
But if SMB has got a real big edge, that’s the dominant inside presence of Fajardo.
“June Mar is a huge problem for us without Greg,” said Cone, adding though that they would find a way to compete.
“No offense to TNT. They’re the elims top team but I think San Miguel is still the team to beat with June Mar and all great weapons around him,” said Cone.
“They’re really tough but our guys are excited. We’ll try to find proper matchups and see if we could move the ball,” Cone added.
Other men to watch in San Miguel are Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Chris Ross and Ronald Tubid.
For the Beermen, main concerns are Justin Brownlee, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar and Sol Mercado.
Then there’s Ginebra’s hunger.
The Gin Kings are without a crown for almost a decade now. And dating back to 2007, Ginebra has lost all playoff matches versus SMB.
These two teams last figured in a long playoff in the 2011 Philippine Cup best-of-seven semis. The Beermen prevailed, 4-2.
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