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SMB not taking Phoenix lightly, braces for Game 2 fightback


Miles Morales

San Miguel may have drawn first blood in its PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Phoenix Pulse, but coach Leo Austria is not taking the Fuel Masters lightly.

Austria and his Beermen are actually bracing for a tougher stance from the No. 1 seeded team in the eliminations on Monday in Game 2 of their best-of-seven duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“You can never know what will happen. Phoenix is the No. 1 seed before the playoffs. They’re capable of bouncing back hard,” said Austria following his side’s 100-88 win in the opener last Saturday.

“You cannot count Phoenix out,” added Austria. “Hopefully, makapag-prepare kami ng maayos and ma-execute ulit namin ng tama gameplan namin sa kanila for Game 2.”

Phoenix managed to hold down five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo to a season-low 9 points.

But the other Beermen stepped up, with Alex Cabagnot finishing with 26 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Chris Ross and Marcio Lassiter had 14 markers apiece while Christian Standhardinger chipped in 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Led by Cabagnot’s 5 triples, the Beermen went 18-for-47 from deep.