SMB faces new-look NLEX as PBA re­sumes

Cebu Daily News - - SPORTS -

Games To­day (Cuneta Astrodome) 41:5 p.m. – San Miguel Beer vs NLEX 7 p.m. – Barangay Gine­bra vs Rain or Shine

San Miguel Beer, com­ing off a 14-day break that coach Leo Aus­tria said they didn’t get to use well, re­turns to PBA Com­mis­sioner’s Cup ac­tion against NLEX on Fri­day with the Beer­men hop­ing to touch off an­other win- ning streak for a top two po­si­tion in the first round of the play­offs.

Tip off is at 4:15 p.m. at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay with Aus­tria ru­ing the fact that, be­cause of the All-Star break and the South­east Asian Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onship, he and his Beer­men weren’t able to put to­gether great prac­tices with key play­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in those events.

“We will be com­ing off a long break but we weren’t com­plete in those prac­tices,” Aus­tria, who was mak­ing his way to the Smart Araneta Coli­seum to watch Gi­las Pilip­inas clinch the Seaba ti­tle over In­done­sia on Thurs­day, said.

“But we will be ready, as we have al­ways been,” he said, even as he hinted that June Mar Fa­jardo, Gi­las’ start­ing cen­ter, might suit up for the Beer­men as they chase a twice-to-beat priv­i­lege ac­corded only to the top two fin­ish­ers after the elim­i­na­tion round.

Aus­tria is also a lit­tle wary of the Road War­riors, whom he de­scribed as a side “that has noth­ing to lose and ev- ery­thing to gain” with an upset, as coach Yeng Guiao puts his new nu­cleus to the test.

Alex Mal­lari, JR Quina­han and Larry Fonacier, stars ac­quired from three teams via trades in the last two weeks, make their NLEX de­buts.

The Road War­riors will be play­ing for noth­ing more than pride the rest of this round – and to get ac­quainted with each other – in prepa­ra­tion for the sea­so­nend­ing Gover­nors’ Cup, where they can put heartaches of this tour­na­ment be­hind.

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