08 May 2015

Three Things to Know About SMB

The Meralco Bolts will have their hands full when they tangle with the San Miguel Beermen on 9 May (Saturday), 3:00 P.M. at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

However, before they get involved in a battle with another team that lost their first game in the on-going 2015 PBA Governor’s Cup, the Bolts need to know three things about the Beermen this year. Whether these three things will help the Bolts secure their first win is hard to tell.

Firstly, the Beermen SMB is the only team that earned the distinction as the squad that was defeated by the league two expansion teams. The first defeat came in the hands of Kia Carnival, 88-78, last 4 February 2015 during the PBA Commissioner Cup. It was then Kia’s only second victory in franchise history and undoubtedly the biggest in their two-conference stint in the league.

Seven days later, newcomer Blackwater Elite put an end to its 14-game losing streak dating back to the 2015 Philippine Cup with a breakthrough 80-77 win the first conference’s champions. Blackwater had a convincing win after they overturn a 10-point deficit ending the first, and complete a 14-point turnaround in the third as they turned a 38-44 halftime deficit into a 60-52 lead entering the final frame.

The second distinctive thing about the league’s only remaining pioneer team is that it became the first PBA ball club to lose back-to-back games to expansion squad KIA. The second loss came last 6 May 2015 after new boy Alex Nuyles and imports Hamady N’Diaye and Jet Chang carve out an 81-78 upset win to kick off its PBA Governors' Cup campaign.

Finally, it was made obvious during the second match with Kia, that if the game is close, referees will make life easier for the Beermen. There were two veteran officials who made three questionable calls in the last 1 minute of the game that gave the Beermen a sense that they are still into the fight.

The dubious calls that came during the crucial stretch include the non-foul call on the driving Alex Nuyles, the foul called on Jet Chang when it was clear that Alex Cabagnot initiated the contact when he tried the three while kicking his foot, and the jump ball called between Kia’s Karl Dehesa and SMB’s Marcio Lassiter when replays showed that the latter was grabbing the former from behind and did not have clear possession of the ball.

Another crucial call was the non-call of double-dribble on SMB’s Junemar Fajardo who went for a missed dunk after getting intimidated by Hamady N’Diaye. The Kia import is not yet in game shape, but Fajardo has difficulties imposing his will on him.

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