Here are the live scores, updates, and results of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup between the San Miguel Beermen and the Meralco Bolts, scheduled on July 18, 2021, at 2:00 PM.
Meralco’s defense passed its first 2021 PBA Philippine Cup test with great gusto, but the Bolts will face a harsher test this Sunday as it will face San Miguel Beer. Coach Norman Black, for one, believes so.
“It’s a powerhouse team. They probably have nine players who can play in the national team. It’s gonna be tough, particularly with June Mar (Fajardo) coming back. He’s a handful. Now we have to worry about our post defense because he’ll be down there,” said Black of the Beermen.
“And it’s not just him, they also have Mo Tautuaa. So we’re going to have our hands full on Sunday,” added Black.
Last Friday, Meralco drubbed Northport Batang Pier to grab their first victory in the league, 85-63.
Mac Belo, in his debut match under a new coach (Black) and team (Meralco), notches a career-high in points as he makes his presence felt. The former Blackwater Bossing standout also recorded 9 rebounds on 11-of-18 shooting. Helping him was Allein Maliksi who powered the bench mob with 14 markers and 6 boards.
For their part, SMB coach Leo Austria said, “After looking at the teams’ lineups and seeing them play kahapon, I think Meralco is one of the contenders so siguradong mahihirapan kami.”
“Pero kung makaka-execute kami ng maganda at kung ‘yung plays namin susuwertihin, baka maging magandang laban ‘yan.”
After being sidelined by a shin fracture in February of last year, Fajardo is raring to go. However, since Austria and the rest of the Beermen’s coaching staff have no idea how their valuable center would perform in a real game, the six-time MVP is first restricted in minutes.
Tautuaa, on the other hand, is a serious post threat. SMB will rely on the 32-year-old big man to fill their Fajardo-sized hole in the middle, averaging 18.6 points (ninth) on 60.3 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 35 minutes.
Nevertheless, the Fil-Tongan’s offensive responsibilities would be significantly reduced if Terrence Romeo, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, and CJ Perez all hit their outside shots.
The last time these two teams met, Meralco ends San Miguel’s five-year dynasty to move on to the semifinals of the PBA bubble.
In December 2020, the PBA held its last game, crowning Barangay Ginebra as Philippine Cup champion in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
Unlike last season’s setup, the league will have a closed-circuit system for the Philippine Cup this time, with teams, league employees, and the media encouraged to keep a venue-home pattern to limit COVID-19 exposure.
The games will be held four times a week. The conference is also scheduled to go through the end of October.
The All-Filipino Cup will proceed to the quarterfinals in its customary format, with the top eight teams advancing. Against the eighth and seventh seeds, the top two seeds will have a twice-to-beat advantage. Meanwhile, in a best-of-three series, No. 3 will face No. 6, and No. 4 will face No. 5. Best-of-seven matches will be played in the semifinals and finals.