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#BeerVsMilk: FHM Previews The PBA Philippine Cup Finals!
We give you the low-down on what to expect from this titanic PBA finals series between two of the league's winningest teams!
by Voltaire Lozada | Jan 5, 2015
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The Alaska Aces welcomed the New Year with a bang by winning Game Six over the Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters to close out their semifinals series and book a seat in the Finals, where a rested San Miguel Beermen squad is waiting. It’s no Manila Clasico, nor is it a throwback to the Alaska vs. Ginebra rivalries of the '90sbut we ain't complaining!

After all, these are two of the most prominent teams in the league, and they want nothing less than to satisfy their die-hard fans. They're also two of the winningest teams in the PBA so yes, pride is definitely at stake. Then there's also the Calvin Abueva-June Mar Fajardo angle. Both are game-changers (although only one has the penchant to stick his tongue out) who will make the other team work hard on D.

pba 2014 philippine cup finals

However, winning the championship is more than just about the glory of two players. For San Miguel, it means finally scoring a crown after years of being pegged as paper champs. For Alaska, it will be a testament to how much they've moved on after years of being identified as Tim Cone’s team. And before we forget, they'll also be playing for the most prestigious PBA championship. No "asa-sa-import" talks here; this is pure Pinoy ball, fellas!

With that, we bring you our preview of the 2014 PBA Philippine Cup Finals. We encourage you to read on before you join your office's/barkada's betting pool!


SEMIS STATS

pba 2014 philippine cup finals
KEY MATCHUPS

- June Mar Fajardo (SMB): 21 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 3.25 apg, 1.5 bpg, 55-percent FG in the semis
- Sonny Thoss (ALA): 12.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.6 apg, 0.8 bpg, 50-percent FG in the semis

- Alex Cabagnot (SMB): 14.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 7/15 3PTM/A in the semis
- Jayvee Casio (ALA): 10.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 9/28 3PTM/A in the semis

- Arwind Santos (SMB): 16.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.2 spg, 55-percent FG in the semis
- Calvin Abueva (ALA): 16.8 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.4 spg, 50-percent FG in the semis

Continue reading below ↓


LOLA PAHINGI NG PANGTOMA!
(A.K.A. WHY THE BEERMEN WILL WIN)

The Beermen (and their fans) will probably sing this Teeth song if they win this matchup of traditional powerhouses:


Video via Caverockcity

They’ve been considered title favorites over the past few seasons, but their strength on paper never really translated to much success in reality. Remember Petronovela? Coaches have come and gone, but it looks like they struck gold with Coach Leo Austria putting all the team's talent in the same page.

pba 2014 philippine cup finalsImage via Spin.ph

They dismantled the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters via a dominant sweep, limiting the top offensive team of the eliminations to only 87.25 PPG in the semifinals. Fajardo dominated the Texters with averages of 21 points and 11 rebounds per game with the returning Alex Cabagnot showing great chemistry with the big guy. Meanwhile, Arwind Santos is playing like an MVP contender while assuming the role of second fiddle to arguably the league’s best player right now in Fajardo.

pba 2014 philippine cup finalsImage via Spin.ph

With so many options on offense, the Beermen have no problem scoring the ball. As a bonus, their wingmen can also defend. Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, and Ronald Tubid can take turns shadowing Alaska’s guards while shooting long bombs on offense. Up front, Doug Kramer and Rico Maeirhofer are decent big men who can provide quality minutes while JMF is resting on the bench. Back-up PG Jeric "The Revelation" Fortuna has provided stability at the point. With him coming off the bench for Cabagnot, the Beermen have become a much more dangerous team.

In other words, the Beermen can hit you on offense and defense, outside and inside. Deadly.


DRINKING GAME IDEAS FOR SAN MIGUEL FANS

  • Down a shot for every bad shot or turnover Cabagnot makes
  • Down two shots for every Tubid flop
  • Down three shots every time Maeirhofer goes down and is sprawled on the floor


WALA PA RING TATALO SA
ALASKA (A.K.A. WHY THE ACES WILL WIN)

Continue reading below ↓

pba 2014 philippine cup finalsImage via Spin.ph

Coach Alex Compton’s team put a premium on defense at the start of the season and has leaned on it to get to where they are now. While the stats will show that they're also the better rebounding team, that advantage might be quashed solely by Fajardo. Expect Alaska, particularly Abueva, to be unfazed though. Proof: The Beast collated 18 freakin' boards in their elimination round matchup and has averaged 10 rebounds per game during their six-game semis war against Rain or Shine.

pba 2014 philippine cup finalsImage via Spin.ph

In order to prove that “Wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska” still holds true, the Aces need Sonny Thoss to limit Fajardo and their guards to rain down threes. Against the Elasto Painters, the Aces only hit 24-percent of their shots from downtown. While everyone knows that the Aces can defend, they need to score more points, particularly from the outside (read: far away from their opponent's hulking frontline) to beat SMB. The firepower will be provided by Jayvee Casio, Dondon Hontiveros, and Cyrus Baguio, but they’ll need RJ Jazul, Chris Banchero, and Ping Exciminiano to find their form as well to put less pressure on the starters.

pba 2014 philippine cup finalsImage via Spin.ph

Meanwhile, Erik Menk (who has been playing like it's 2009) and Vic “Muscle Man” Manuel will definitely be called upon to limit the production of the San Miguel bigs. But it's Exciminiano who'll likely be the Aces' X-Factor in the series. The guy's a kiti-kiti on the floor, and is nightmare of a defender for any point guard. If he plays the same way (and, in the process, inspire his teammates to hustle more), then San Miguel is in for a world of trouble.


(MILK) DRINKING GAME IDEAS FOR ALASKA FANS

  • Down a glass of milk for every Hontiveros three, double if he reacts like it's a big deal
  • Down two glasses for every Abueva technical foul or flop
  • Down three glasses for every Alex Compton outburst (the guy's the coolest coach we've seen in a while)


FHM
'S FEELING-QUINITO-HENSON FINALS PREDICTION

The Finals will go the distance, at least six games to be exact. Alaska and San Miguel are the two most dominant teams this conference and we just can't imagine any squad giving up without a fight. Talent, chemistry, pride: both teams have these and more.

Continue reading below ↓

However, like kids arguing between Naruto and Bleach, we're still undecided on which team will emerge victorious. But we think...

San Miguel wins if:

pba 2014 philippine cup finalsImage via Spin.ph

The Beermen are just too deep, and with a coach like Leo Austria who can do so much with so little talent, imagine what he can do with a powerhouse squad. Fajardo has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with, and nobody’s calling out Santos anymore for not being “clutch” after he showed that he can be against the Texters. With the players finally knowing their roles, the Beermen look primed to take this series and re-establish San Miguel’s dominance.

Alaska wins if:

pba 2014 philippine cup finalsImage via Spin.ph

On the flipside, the Aces have the manpower to frustrate San Miguel's 6'10" behemoth on the inside. There’s also that possibility that Hontiveros keeps shooting like a madman like he did in Game Six against Rain Or Shine just to show his former team that he still got it.

Also, the competitive Abueva will certainly not let Fajardo win his first All-Filipino championship before him without a fight. Finally, the Aces look like a team that will not fall for mind games or physical play, something the newly-bonded Beermen may not have just yet. That’s what happens to a team after going through a series against Yeng Guiao.

Photos from Spin.ph
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