Beermen clash with Fuel Masters, target 3rd straight win

Reigning champion San Miguel will face off against Phoenix in a much-anticipated clash in the PBA Philippine Cup on Easter Sunday. The Beermen intend to maintain their winning streak and stay in the lead, while the Fuel Masters are plotting their spectacular “rise from the ashes.”

The first game since the league’s two-week break for the immensely popular All-Star Weekend in Bacolod and the observance of Holy Week is scheduled to tip off at 3 p.m at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Unfazed by their recent triumph and without any sign of wear from their victorious Commissioner’s Cup campaign, the Beermen have kick-started their journey for consecutive All Filipino titles and an unblemished run in the two-season-long Season 48, starting with a convincing 109-97 victory over Rain or Shine, followed by a daring 91-89 last-minute win against TNT.

Contrarily, the Fuel Masters are dispiritingly crawling their way back after a semifinal appearance in the last tournament, managing just a single victory in their opening four games. For Phoenix, the 85-100 drubbing at hands of Rain or Shine in their latest game before the break has left a sour taste that they are eager to rinse off.

Despite the stark contrast in their early performances, the Beermen remain vigilant and are not taking chances.

“Kailangan namin mag-step up kasi competitive talaga ngayon ang liga. Iyung ibang teams lumalakas na, wala ng mahinang teams dito sa PBA. Kaya kailangan din naming itaas ang laro namin. Hindi kami pwedeng maging stagnant at over-confident,” said SMB main man June Mar Fajardo.

Coach Jorge Gallent has arranged rigorous training sessions for his team following their return from the All-Star Game in Bacolod earlier this week. In line with their successful strategy, SMB has resumed the same rigorous regimen that they utilized after their championship break to gear up for the final, ten-day preparations for the Philippine Cup.

“Iyung mentality namin noong March 4 to 14 (before debuting in the All-Filipino) will be the same,” said Gallent.

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