July 19, 2018, 6:02 am
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Pride, lots of it, at stake in title duel

THEY are sister teams but fans can expect a grind-it out battle when San Miguel Beer and Magnolia clash for the PBA Philippine Cup crown starting this Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen are bidding to win a historic fourth-straight Philippine Cup title while the Hotshots are out to end a four-year championship dry spell in the best-of-7 finals duel.

Beermen coach Leo Austria said pride keeps his charges motivated against the Hotshots.

“‘Yung magkapatid, laging nag-aaway ‘yan,” Austria said during the pre-finals press conference at the Sambokojin Restaurant in Eastwood City.

Austria is also wary of Magnolia’s hunger, saying: “Gutom na gutom sila, at iyon ang kinakatakutan ko sa kanila.”

The Hotshots last won a title in 2014 under Tim Cone, the last crown of their Grand Slam season.

SMB beat Ginebra 4-1 in their semifinals showdown while Magnolia scored a 4-2 win over NLEX in their semis series, including a 96-89 win last Tuesday night.

Game 1 is set tomorrow at 7 p.m.

“The Philippine Cup is considered the most prestigious PBA tournament. Pinaghahandaan ng husto ‘yan,” said Hotshots team governor Rene Pardo.

“So for sure, it’s going to be a fight to the last.”

The two squads will meet in the Big Dance for only the second time as sister teams under the San Miguel Corporation conglomerate.

When the original Purefoods ballclub was still under the Ayala Group, the Hotdogs (now the Hotshots) and the Beermen tangled for the crown four times in a six-year stretch beginning in 1989.

Ramon Fernandez, Samboy Lim and Hector Calma led SMB in a 4-2 conquest of Purefoods in their 1989 Philippine Cup title duel. San Miguel repeated over Purefoods in 1992 and 1994.

Bannered by now Magnolia team manager Alvin Patrimonio, Coney Island got one over the Beermen in 1993.

The Hotshots are expected to bank on Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon, and Aldrech Ramos.

Reigning four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot will be counted upon by the Beermen to deliver.

“Maraming gustong kumuha ng championship namin pero may sarili kaming dahilan,” said Santos.

Lassiter echoed Santos’ thoughts, saying: “We know what’s at stake, and we have lots of motivation.”

“We have another opportunity to win and that’s always the goal. We don’t want to waste the opportunity. We want to put our names on the history book,” said Ross.
 
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