By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
FELL in their previous games, the San Miguel Beermen and Rain or Shine (ROS) Elasto Painters try to go back to winning when they collide today in PBA Philippine Cup action at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Had their respective winning streaks snapped prior, the Beermen (2-2) and Elasto Painters (2-1) battle in the main game at 7 p.m. where they hope to bag the win that would allow them to fortify their spot in the top half of the standings early in the season-opening Philippine Basketball Association tournament.
San Miguel lost to the TNT KaTropa, 104-93, in their last game on Jan. 27 that saw it lose some footing in the end that gave its opponent leverage to move on and get the victory.
Christian Standhardinger led the Beermen in said game with a double-double effort of 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Von Pessumal had a breakout game, finishing with 23 points, while June Mar Fajardo had 22.
But San Miguel, which continued to play sans Terrence Romeo because of ankle sprain and Alex Cabagnot (hamstring), could not keep in step with TNT down the stretch en route to the defeat.
The loss effectively halted the winning run of the defending champions Beermen, who won two straight previously after opening their tournament bid with a loss.
Just like San Miguel, Rain or Shine saw their two-game winning streak come to an end after bowing to the Blackwater Elite, 111-99, on Wednesday.
It was a tale of two halves for the Elasto Painters against the Elite, having it solid in the opening half only to fail to sustain it in the second.
James Yap led Rain or Shine with 20 points followed by Maverick Ahanmisi with 18.
Rey Nambatac, meanwhile, finished with 15 points for the Elasto Painters, who missed out on the opportunity to keep an unblemished record with the loss.
Meanwhile, preceding the San Miguel-Rain or Shine main game is the clash between the Phoenix Pulse Fuel Masters (3-0) and Blackwater (1-2) at 4:30 p.m.
Phoenix looks to keep its clean slate intact behind the steady play of the likes of Calvin Abueva, Matthew Wright, and Jason Perkins.
The 3-0 record is the best start for the Fuel Masters in the PBA so far and something they hope to continue building on moving forward.
“We never thought we would start the conference with three straight wins because we did not win any of our tune-up games. Hopefully we could add on it,” said Phoenix coach Louie Alas following their last victory against the Columbian Dyip, 108-98, on Jan. 23.
Blackwater, for its part, is out to win back-to-back after breaking through the win column in its last outing versus Rain or Shine.
Leading the way for the Elite is forward Allein Maliksi with 17.7 points per game followed by Michael DiGregorio with 14.3 points.