The San Miguel Beermen (SMB) is scheduled for a head-to-head game against the Meralco Bolts at 4:00 PM on November 13, 2020, live from the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Heading into the PBA bubble playoffs, the injury-plagued San Miguel, fourth-seed with 7-4 win-loss record, will rely heavily on the consistent plays of Mo Tautuaa as they face the ever-dangerous fifth-seed Meralco (7-4), anchored by Chris Newsome, who averages 14.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.
Tautuaa, who after the grueling elimination round averages 18.91 points, 7.55 rebounds, and 2.64 assists, led the Beermen in their 89-82 win over the Norman Black-coached Meralco. He tallied 23 points to lead all scorers.
Tautuaa was backed up by four other SMB players who also scored in double figures: Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, and Chris Ross.
Despite the absence of June Mar Fajardo and the early exit of Terrence Romeo due to injuries, the Beermen, who’s eyeing to capture their sixth straight Philippine Cup title, still managed to capture the coveted twice-to-beat advantage.
At a disadvantage, the Bolts will try to draw first blood and upset the Beermen.
Chris Newsome, who has shown his ability to make clutch plays, is expected to lead the charge for Meralco’s bid for an upset. However, Baser Amer, Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and Cliff Hodge must contribute points to make their aim of beating SMB happen.
Rookie Aaron Black and veteran Reynel Hugnatan will also play a critical role later to possibly extend their winning streak in the bubble.
In their 80-73 win over the eliminated Blackwater Elite, the surging Bolts had five players finishing in double figures.
Now the Bolts are bracing to win two-in-a-row in the quarterfinals against San Miguel in the hope of advancing to the semifinals of the All-Filipino conference for the very first time.
“You have to win two games to make it to the semis. That’s what it comes down to. Hopefully, if you can get that first win, you put a little pressure on the team that has the twice-to-win advantage. Obviously, you have to play good basketball,” said Black.