The San Miguel Beermen is scheduled for a Game 1 Quarterfinals head-to-head match against the Converge FiberXers at 4:30 PM on March 19, 2023 live from the Smart Araneta Coliseum at Quezon City, Metro Manila.
The Beermen will exercise their twice-to-beat advantage this afternoon and for sure want to avoid extra outings instead take an outright ticket to the semis while the FiberXers will try to make thing turnaround in their favor and hope that their newly acquired import will be the key to their success.
The San Miguel Beer will face off against the Converge FiberXers in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup, and this game is expected to be intense. San Miguel’s coach, Jorge Gallent, emphasized the importance of defense and stated that his players must “be good in our individual defense, to have pride in it.”
This is because their opponent, Converge, has a double-edged weapon and won their only game against San Miguel in the elims, which was when the Beermen still had June Mar Fajardo, who is now out with an MCL injury. San Miguel ended their elims campaign on a high note with a 129-116 victory against Rain or Shine, but Gallent was not happy with his team’s defense, stating that “we just relaxed again on defense.”
The Beermen will be looking to use their twice-to-beat advantage to clinch a semifinals berth, but they will have to do it without their star center, Fajardo. This is where San Miguel’s other players will need to step up, especially on the defensive end. Gallent said, “We really have to work hard for 48 minutes in order to make it far in the playoffs.”
One player who understands the importance of defense is Vic Manuel, who said, “Ang talagang nagiging problema namin talaga sa depensa, kasi sa opensa hindi naman kami nagkaka-problema.” Manuel, who scored 23 points in San Miguel’s win against Rain or Shine, also emphasized the need for teamwork, especially with Fajardo out. “Kailangan naming mag-tulong-tulong talaga, especially ngayon wala si June Mar,” he said.
Converge, on the other hand, has a new import, Tom Vodanovich, who replaced Jamaal Franklin following a falling-out with coach Aldin Ayo. Vodanovich is a solid all-around player and a New Zealand national team member. He has honed his game in both James Madison U in the US NCAA and the pro leagues in his native country and Australia. However, whether he would readily fit Ayo’s system remains to be seen.
San Miguel will have to watch out for Converge’s weapons, but they will also need to focus on their defense to win this game. The Beermen will be hoping to build on their back-to-back wins in the elims and use their momentum to advance to the semifinals. With Fajardo out, they will need all their players to step up and play their best game. As Gallent said, “We just have to play good defense. We can’t rely on our offense, we can’t win.”