Amidst all the physicality, San Miguel Beer and Phoenix Pulse are bound to continue their dogfight as they both seek to gain some needed leverage in the resumption of their intense best-of-seven semifinal showdown in the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.
The Beermen, still ahead at 2-1, once again seek to move closer to the finals, while the rejuvenated Fuel Masters look for the equalizer in their 7 p.m. Game 4 clash at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City tonight.
Finally getting the breakthrough it needed in Game 3, Phoenix was able to crawl itself back in the series after a pair of heartbreaking losses in the first two games.
Fuel Masters’ coach Louie Alas credits his players for hanging tough despite the early obstacles they faced against the four-time defending champions.
“I have to commend the boys. They fought hard for us to get back in the series,” said Alas, who gave out a tongue-lashing to his wards following their Game 2 loss last week. “Magtuluy-tuloy na sana para sa ‘min.”
Still, Alas expects no less as he knows San Miguel will bring the fight in Game 4.
“Alam naman natin how good ‘yung San Miguel. Again, we can’t afford not to play 48 minutes of consistent basketball,” he said.
After a pep talk and a much-needed Holy Week break, Phoenix star Calvin Abueva was revitalized in Game 4, showing the entire repertoire with a complete showing of 18 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to lead the Fuel Masters to a 92-90 squeaker last Sunday night, trimming the Beermen’s series lead to a single game.
Game 3 was highly-physical as Phoenix big man Dave Marcelo was ejected for a flagrant foul 2, while Matthew Wright was given a flagrant foul 1 as well.
Both teams engaged in a heated back-and-forth exchange, with the Fuel Masters compiling a total of 41 fouls.
San Miguel sniper Marcio Lassiter missed Game 3 due to some back problems. He is expected to be a game-time decision for Game 4.