Fuel masters to the guillotine?

April 24, 2019
Phoenix Fuel Masters
The Phoenix Fuel Masters must overcome the Beermen tonight, or they go on an early vacation.

San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria and his Beermen can’t seem to wait to get into the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup finals right away.

Austria swore he does not want to see their semifinal duel with Phoenix Pulse to go beyond today.

"We will work really hard the next game because we don't want to extend the series," said Austria. "But it's not easy because their (Fuel Masters) conference is on the line."

Austria made the statement moments after the Beermen defeated the Fuel Masters in Game 4, 114-91, on Tuesday in a big rebound from a Game 3 debacle.

That gave the Beermen a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 semifinal duel against a first-timer in the playoff battle.

For the first time in the series, the Beermen got off to a good start which they gamely sustained behind a balanced offensive anchored not on their big men but on their shooting guards.

June Mar Fajardo and Christian Standhardinger had very minimal contribution with nine points apiece, but that’s not a problem because the rest of the team stepped up.

Terrence Romeo was the main man in Game 4 after finishing with 20 points. Alex Cabagnot added 18, Arwind Santos 16, while Chris Ross and Von Pessumal chipped in 10 points each as the Beermen sent the Fuel Masters on the brink of frustration on their first stint in the semis.

"Finally, we have a good start out of these four games. I think that's what we need, to have a good start," said Austria. "We were able to dictate the tempo of the game."

The Beermen are gunning for their fifth straight title in the most prestigious conference in the pro league, and they could place themselves on the right direction by beating the Fuel Masters anew today in Game 5 at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Game time is 7 p.m.

San Miguel is owner of 25 titles in the PBA, the most by any team. Seven of those championships are All-Filipino, also the most by any team in the league.

They won the prestigious Philippine Cup four straight starting in 2015. In addition to that, the Beermen had also won All-Filipino during their grand slam year in 1989, and in 1992 and 2001.