Phoenix was number 1 for a reason.
And while history and eye test suggest that it’s the Fuel Masters that are actually the underdogs in their semifinals series against San Miguel Beer, the reigning four-time Philippine Cup champions remain wary of their top-ranked opponents.
The Fuel Masters earned the no. 1 seed in the All-Filipino and the Beermen will give them the respect they deserve as the best-of-7 showdown drags on.
“Hindi naman pwede isipin na kayang-kaya na namin sila, na kaya namin i-diretso na apat na panalo,” Arwind Santos said as the Beermen scored a rousing 100-88 win in Game 1 Saturday.
“Yung respeto namin sa kanila, mataas pa rin,” he added.
In the series opener, San Miguel took Phoenix’s best shot in the opening period and then responded with two haymakers in the middle quarters.
The Beermen thoroughly dominated the second and third quarters to build a commanding 24-point lead.
However, the Fuel Masters proved their no. 1 ranking and staged a comeback in the fourth, cutting the deficit to seven.
In the end, San Miguel’s composure prevailed and the champs hit some timely baskets to hold on.
“Ang maganda nga rito, nanalo kami. But hindi kami dapat ma-satisfy,” Santos said.
“Kailangan wag kaming kukurap sa kanila kasi hindi namin masabi. Kasi ng team nila talagang killer din eh. Pag nag-relax ka talaga pwede ka na lang nila talunin basta-basta,” he added
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