Surging Aces gun for hefty 3-0 lead
LUCENA CITY—Alaska tries to put the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup practically in the bag when the Aces tackle a depleted and beleaguered defending champion San Miguel Beer in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Finals at Quezon Convention Center here.
Tip off is at 7 p.m.
The Aces handled the pressure better and executed with a lot of fluidity in the first two games’ late stretches, frustrating the Beermen who still managed to take Alaska to the limit even without their injured heart and soul, June Mar Fajardo.
Alaska leads the series comfortably, 2-0, but those two victories didn’t come easily for the Aces.
And for all intents and purposes, this is a must-win for the Beermen, who will still be without Fajardo, the reigning two-time MVP and hands-down Best Player of the Conference.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria believes that they still have a chance to turn this around, asking his players to continue fighting even if the road to a title repeat has become an uphill trek.
With Fajardo—who averaged 26 points and 18 rebounds before getting injured—watching helplessly at home due to a swollen left knee, San Miguel yielded only late in both games, unable to find a go-to guy when the chips were down.
The Aces are within two more wins of snapping the longest active all-Filipino drought. They won here last in 2000 with its 1996 Grand Slam team.
Vic Manuel has been the revelation for the Aces, averaging 21 points and six rebounds in the first two games of the series as the 6-foot-4 banger made the most out of Fajardo’s absence.