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LOTS OF MATCH-UPS TO WATCH IN SMB-GINEBRA TIFF

SMB-gin junemar-greg

San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra have evenly split at least their last 20 matches, indicating any Beermen-Kings battle would always be a virtual coin toss or coin flip.

That could well be the case when the two teams face off in a crucial showdown in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.

And it could well be a grander battle if Greg Slaughter finally rejoins the Kings in the5:15 p.m. tiff.

The Beermen hope to stretch their hot streak to five games while the Kings look to sustain their mini romp, gunning for a third win in their last four outings.

According to reports, Slaughter has rejoined Barangay Ginebra in practice. The 7-foot-1 behemoth may be back in action in the SMB-Ginebra tussle that will feature him in a duel of giants versus 6-foot-10 Junemar Fajardo.

Japeth Aguilar already plunged back into action ahead of Slaughter with the 6-foot-9 World Cup veteran tossing in 15 points to help the Kings top the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 93-81 in a matchup in Dubai last May 22.

Barangay Ginebra got to a scrambling 1-3 conference start minus Slaughter and Aguilar, nailing the lone win versus Kia (105-98) last May 13.

The Kings bowed to the Alaska Milk Aces, 99-108, the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters, 91-95, and the Blackwater Elite, 77-83.

The Beermen had their own health woes early on — not helping them in losses to the Carnival, 78-83, and to the Meralco Bolts, 95-106 in overtime.

But import AZ Reid and his teammates have since recovered, stringing up four straight wins over the E-Painters (104-91), the Globalport Batang Pier (124-102), the Star Hotshots (100-89) and the Barako Bull Energy (116-113) to zoom to the upper half of the chart halfway through their stint in the one-round-robin elimination phase.

Ronald Tubid scored 12 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter while Reid capped a 22-point job with three lethal plays in the last 31 seconds as San Miguel Beer topped the previously unbeaten Barako Bull side Wednesday.

Fajardo delivered his usual numbers though playing just 18 minutes as the Beermen played heavily with their shooters in an effort to offset their disadvantage at the paint against 7-foot-2 Barako Bull import Liam McMorrow.

Tubid, Reid and Marcio Lassiter dealt Barako Bull decisive beating from the perimeter in the payoff period.

“We knew we can’t beat them at the paint and so we tried to beat them from the perimeter,” said San Miguel Beer head coach Leo Austria.

“It’s good that Ronald (Tubid) clicked with his outside shooting. If not for him, it would be too hard for us as we had no option inside the paint,” Austria pointed out.

Against the Kings, Reid faces a fellow import of his size in Orlando Johnson, another key matchup in the SMB-Ginebra tiff. (SB)

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