Beermen shoot for 5th Commissioner’s Cup title, 29th overall

San Miguel is poised for a decisive showdown against Magnolia in Game 6 of the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup title series on Valentine’s Day at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The game is set for 7:30 p.m., as the Beermen aim to clinch their 5th Commissioner’s Cup crown and 29th league championship overall. Additionally, the league’s most successful franchise will be vying for its 10th PBA title since the 2014-15 season.

San Miguel took back the series lead at 3-2 with a stellar performance in Game 5, where veteran guard Jericho Cruz’s remarkable three-point shooting led to a playoff career-best of 30 points in their 108-98 victory last Sunday.

Despite their recent success, coach Jorge Gallent cautioned his team against complacency, emphasizing the need to remain focused.

“It’s just being confident, but not being too overconfident. Confidence is good but overconfidence is bad and that’s what happened to us in Games 3 and 4,” stressed Gallent.

The Beermen have had to regroup after setbacks in Games 3 and 4, which allowed the Hotshots to even the series at 2-2. However, with Cruz leading the charge and Simon Enciso making a notable contribution with 15 points, San Miguel has regained its confidence in this title series.

On the other hand, Magnolia finds itself facing a win-or-go-home scenario after suffering a painful loss in Game 5. The stakes are high as both teams prepare for what promises to be an intense encounter.

One thing going against the Hotshots is the history of both franchises. The Beermen have an 8-0 record when up 3-2 in a PBA Finals, for the last 25 years as reported by PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon. Additionally, the Hotshots have never won the title in the last 13 times that they lost Game 5 after a 2-2 deadlock.

Magnolia is pinning its sagging hopes on athletic import Tyler Bey to lead them to victory and force a Game 7.

Bey, a former standout from Colorado, has been instrumental for the Hotshots, excelling in scoring, rebounding, and even shutting down Bennie Boatwright in the title series.

Boatwright, who typically averaged close to 30 points and five three-pointers per game entering the series, has seen his numbers drop to just 21 points over the last three games of the Finals.

Additionally, he struggled from beyond the arc with just six successful shots out of 28 attempts due to Bey’s suffocating defense.

To push for a Game 7 in the championship series, the Hotshots will need strong performances from local players like Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang and Calvin Abueva.

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