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PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals Preview: San Miguel vs. Rain Or Shine

PBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

THE other PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series will commence. San Miguel and Rain Or Shine will begin their own best-of-seven clash. Here are some tidbits about this series.

History: This is their second straight semifinal series against each other. The last time they met in the Final Four, the Beermen repulsed the Elasto Painters in four games.

What Now: At one point late in the conference, Rain Or Shine was on the verge of securing the first outright semifinal spot, while San Miguel was in danger of having to go through a whirlwind Christmas knockout stages to barge to the semis. However, a shocking win by NLEX over ROS turned the tides, putting SMB at the top two plus the outright semis spot and relegating ROS to the Yuletide "mayhem", which the club easily cruised.

Key Match-Up: Paul Lee vs. Alex Cabagnot: Of course it's hard to answer this question: "Who's gonna stop Junemar Fajardo?" However, a plot twist ensues. Coach Yeng Guiao revealed that Paul Lee will be making his 2016 season debut in the semis, making his match-up with Alex Cabagnot a match-up to watch out. While the "rust" is expected of Lee in Game 1, the fact that it's a race-to-four battle could be a factor, especially that Cabagnot has been more of a facilitator to Fajardo since he returned to the SMB camp.

Stats to Watch Out: While Cabagnot is the team's assist leader at five a game, he is also the team's third leading scorer at 14.5 a match. However, he is the last guy averaging double figures for the Beermen (Fajardo averages 23.1, Arwind Santos averages 15.5). For a team averaging 95.5 points a game, limiting both Cabagnot and Santos can haunt the Beermen. Still, how can the E-Painters beat the Kraken?

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno