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San Miguel’s pick your poison conundrum plaguing Rain or Shine anew

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With the San Miguel Beermen finally displaying its full force in the last two games of the semi-finals, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters are once again fazed by an old problem: picking their own poison.

The Beermen scored a 103-94 in in Game 5 Wednesday to grab the 3-2 series lead and move one win away from returning to the Philippine Cup finals.

San Miguel worked with completeness, giving its main weapon June Mar Fajardo enough touches while having the rest of the team provide the ample support.

In the fourth quarter where the Beermen fired 31 points, eight different players scored. The team kept the ball moving to find open shots, and with everyone locked in, the Rain or Shine defense looked ordinary.

Open shots were given; offensive rebounds leading to second chance opportunities were allowed, and the interior struggled to keep up with the full-strength Beermen.

Fajardo muscled his way for 27 points and 12 rebounds, while three others scored in double-digits. Another three off the bench combined for 27 points. San Miguel assisted 23 of 31 field goal makes, and shot 32 percent from three-point land.

“San Miguel just has too many options, whether the low post, or outside shot, even in transition. Today, they beat us in our own game. I think that is also one thing we need to address,” Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao said.

“We need to play better defense. Overall, the last two games that we’ve lost, they shot in the 50s percentage-wise. That is just too much. Our offense is not that bad. We can win with our offense.”

Like in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup where the Elasto Painters had a difficult time stopping a powerhouse San Miguel crew with Marcio Lassiter, AZ Reid, and more weapons, the team is again trying to figure out how to solve the Beermen conundrum.

“When Fajardo was making his 40 points, we were actually winning. But now he is making less, we are having a difficult time. That means they are spreading it out,” Guiao added.

“We can sacrifice June Mar scoring but we cannot sacrifice two or three more guys getting involved on offense. It’s really stopping one or two guys to keep the game close.”

With Rain or Shine on the brink of another impressive yet incomplete playoff run, the team has to make a risk. Although the series is not over yet, time is running short — and the Elasto Painters should figure out how to stop the Beermen or they would likely get booted out again.

“Depensa lang talaga. If they make their outside shots and have June Mar as their post option, there is really little chance of beating them.”

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