#PBA2016 COMMISH CUP PREVIEW: SAN MIGUEL BEERMEN vs RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO-PAINTERS - REPEAT OR REVENGE?

(image from the PBA/Inquirer)
ROS beat SMB in the elims of the 2015-2016 PHL Cup, but the Beermen rebounded in a big way in the semifinals, defeating ROS and booting the Painters out, 4-2, int heir best-of-7 series. It was a particularly painful defeat for ROS since there were a couple of contests where they led big only to see the Beermen rally in the final period. Without a doubt, ROS knows they can hang and bang with SMB, but in this their first match this conference, will be a repeat of that stinging loss, or will the Painters achieve a measure of vengeance?

SMB was locked in a tight battle in its last game, dealing MER their first loss of the conference. Tyler Wilkerson and June Mar Fajardo made life tough in the middle for MER’s Arinze Onuaku, while Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Gabby Espinas all combined to do really well also. They will have to do some adjustments here, though, as ROS will parade new import Mo Charlo, who is advertised as a wide-bodied banger.

Speaking of Charlo, he comes in to replace the somewhat ineffective Antoine Wright. The 6’8 Charlo brings a colroful resume that includes stops in Uruguay, Japan, and the NBA D-League. ROS hopes Charlo can complement the Painters’ other good frontliners, namely JR Quiñahan, Beau Belga, and Raymond Almazan. ROS is coming off an impressive blowout win over NLX, and that should give them great momentum heading into this pivotal tussle with the Beermen. 

SMB needs a win here to get solo second and distance themselves from GIN and MAH, while ROS wants to begin moving to the top half of the standings. A loss here will keep ROS mired in the bottom six.


1. SMB: TERRIFIC TYLER
- Tyler Wilkerson has been nothing but amazing for SMB. The former KBL import has been a match-up nightmare. He can score around the basket, but he has also proven to be quite deadly from beyond the arc? I mean, how do you guard that, right? I guess you try your best to NOT let him get the ball because when he does, all you can do is pray he has an off night.

vs MER: 27pts, 10rebs, 2asts, 2blks, 1stl, 2 triples.
Stats: 35.8ppg, 12.5rpg, 1.5apg, 3.0bpg, 3.5 triples per game, 48.3 3pt%, 50.0 FG%


2. SMB: POUNDED IN THE PAINT?
- SMB was outscored in the paint by MER in their last game. That shouldn’t happen again, but that’s easier said than done against a team like ROS that’s loaded at the 4 and 5 spots. Bring in new import Mo Charlo, and the Beermen may really have their work cut out for them protecting the rim.

Pts in the Paint: MER 58, SMB 32


3. SMB: GARBAGE INTO GOLD
- SMB is near the top in terms of 2nd chance points and points off turnovers. In short, this team isn’t just deep in all positions. They’re also very good at turning garbage into gold. If they can use their edge in size to the hilt for those offensive boards and at the same time force some turnovers, the Beermen may be able to run away with their fourth win of the conference.

SMB stats: 
2nd chance pts - 15.8ppg (#2)
Pts off TOs - 19.8ppg (#3)
Opponent’s TOs - 16.8 topg (#4)


4. ROS: BACK-UP POWER
- Bench play was big in ROS’s win over NLX. It helps, of course, to have guys like Almazan, Cruz, and Chan coming off the pine. They’ll need that bench depth in this game, especially since the Beermen have one of the deepest rosters in the league. If coach Yeng Guiao’s second unit can be productive, there’s a good chance the Painters can pull off a W.

Last Game Bench Pts: ROS 70, NLX 30
Jewel Ponferada - 15pts, 2stls
Raymond Almazan - 14pts, 1blk
Jericho Cruz - 12pts, 5rebs, 2asts
Jeff Chan - 12pts, 6rebs, 2asts, 2 triples


5. ROS: MO COMES TO TOWN
- Just who is Mo Charlo? He’s not exactly NBA-grade, but he has been a reasonable effective import in a number of countries, including Japan and Uruguay. He certainly brings a lot of size (He is 6’8.), and should add more athleticism to the Painters’ frontline. As long as he can mute or match the production of Tyler Wilkerson, Charlo should be a great addition to the Painters.

Stats in Uruguay: 18.3ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.3spg
Stats in Japan (BJ League): 18.4ppg, 8.5rpg, 3.6apg, 1.5spg


6. ROS: BRICK BY BORING BRICK
- ROS is currently the worst FG shooting team in the league, throwing up one brick after another. They aren’t really the worst in 2pt FGs or 3pt FGs, but they’re pretty bad in both. Much of that is due to Antoine Wright’s low FG% when he was still this team’s import, so having a new reinforcement should change their numbers somewhat. Hopefully, it’ll be for the better.

ROS Stats:
FG% - 42.9% (#12)
2pt% - 47.9% (#8)
3pt% - 34.6% (#8)


7. KEY MATCH-UP: MARCIO LASSITER X JERICHO CRUZ
- Lassiter has reached the level where he is mentioned in the “Best SG of the PBA” conversation, while Cruz has become a breakout star for coach Yeng Guiao. This match-up will be quite interesting as Lassiter can heat up quickly like a microwave, while Cruz is more attuned to attacking the basket. 

Lassiter last game: 10pts, 3rebs, 2asts, 2 triples, 4/11 FGs
Cruz last game: 12pts, 5rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 6/11 FGs

Lassiter stats: 15.8ppg, 3.8rpg, 3.3apg, 3.3 triples per game, 44.8 3pt%, 48.9 FG%
Cruz stats: 13.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.2apg, 1.2 triple per game, 40.0 3pt%, 52.6 FG%


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