MANILA - Coach Siot Tan-quingcen of San Miguel Beer hopes to capitalize on their height and size advantage when they meet Alaska in Game 1 of the best-of-seven title series of the 35th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen, who clinched their 31st finals stint via a 4-2 triumph over Derby Ace in the semis, face the Aces at 7:30 p.m, while losing semifinalists B-Meg Llamados and the Tropang Texters battle for third place in a knockout match at 5 p.m.
Alaska leaned on LA Tenorio, Diamon Simpson and Larry Fonacier’s clutch hits to diffuse Talk ‘N Text, 90-81, in their do-or-die match on Wednesday to end the semis, 4-3. That win earned Alaska its 25th finals appearance since 1986.
The continued absence of 6’8” Sonny Thoss due to a sprain ligament, boosted the chances of the Beermen, who have 6’8” Jay Washington, 6’9” Mick Pennisi, 6’6” Dorian Peña, 6’7” Mike Holper, 6’6” Danny Siegle and 6’6” Danny Ildefonso.
Both Tanquingcen and Alaska coach Tim Cone, however, admitted the finals is a different kind of game.
“It’s not anymore about getting tired but more about the mental and physical readiness to go for the title,” said Cone, who is aiming for the Aces’ 13th conference crown to tie Crispa as the league’s second winningest team.
Tanquingcen, who is seeking the Beermen’s 19th crown 1975, admitted he enjoys a slight advantage in depth.
“In the finals, the playing field is level now. Although, I admit we have slight
advantage depth-wise. If it’s just 15 players playing in the court at the same time, we will surely win. Man-for-man, we are slightly ahead,” the coach said.