By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE slumping San Miguel Beermen are out to break from a three-game losing streak in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup when they face off with in-form Phoenix Fuel Masters in league action today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Set for 7 p.m., the Beermen (2-4) try to regain their winning touch in the season-ending PBA tournament to better position themselves in the playoffs.
Currently at eighth place and tinkering with outright elimination midway into the Governors’ Cup, San Miguel has had it rough to date that has seen it change reinforcement while grappling with the absence of superstar big man June Mar Fajardo.
Kevin Murphy, who replaced original import Arizona Reid (injured), has been solid in two games to date for the Beermen, averaging 41 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists, but it has not translated to a turnaround yet for the team.
Super rookie Christian Standhardinger, too, has been delivering with numbers of 26.2 points and 10.8 rebounds while Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross have been steady as well.
Unfortunately for the team though, they have yet to pick their collective groove to put up a sustained fight.
Despite their current predicament, San Miguel coach Leo Austria remains confident that they can still turn their campaign around and perform well moving forward.
“We just have to stay confident and not doubt ourselves. We still have a chance,” said Mr. Austria of their situation at the moment.
Meanwhile, looking to add to the misery of the Beermen is Phoenix (6-2), which is off a steam-rolling of the NLEX Road Warriors, 123-97, on Oct. 10.
The Fuel Masters used a massive first half that had them scoring 71 points to dominate the Road Warriors and move to joint fourth place in the tournament.
Import Eugene Phelps had a huge double-double of 51 points and 20 rebounds to go along with three blocks to lead Phoenix.
Calvin Abueva had 17 points while Matthew Wright had 10 points and seven assists.
The win was a bounce-back for the Fuel Masters who lost to the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, 101-99, in their previous game.
“We’re back and I like where we are at right now,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas after their latest win.
Set to play in the 4:30 p.m. opener, meanwhile, are the struggling Meralco Bolts (1-5) and Northport Batang Pier (1-6).