Two-games-to-one up and all pumped-up, San Miguel Beer tries to push TNT KaTropa in a deeper hole at the resumption of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup title duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
Game time is at 7 p.m. with another win by the Beermen to send the team on the doorstep of back-to-back championships and a first Commissioner’s Cup crown in 17 years.
What could well be an added inspiration for the Beermen is the likelihood of a twin win of SMB players as Best Import and Best Player of the Conference.
Charles Rhodes is likely to be the Best Import while either Chris Ross or Alex Cabagnot can well be the recipient of the BPC plum. The individual awards will be handed out before Game Four tip-off.
Then the Beermen and the Texters resume their battle, with the latter now riding the momentum of back-to-back wins after a narrow loss in the series opener.
“We’re coming off a two-day rest and we have to be ready for their fightback,” said SMB coach Leo Austria.
The Beermen, dealing the Texters a thorough beating in the last two games, will still face a TNT squad with Josh Smith as import.
An expected import change by the Texters didn’t happen even after the Monday meeting among coach Nash Racela, team manager Virgil Villavicencio and Patrick Gregorio, the team’s alternate representative in the PBA board.
Obviously, they decided they’re still better off with Smith. Or they’re gambling one more game with the wide-bodied import.
Racela was convinced they didn’t lose the last two games because of Smith but on their crucial errors.
“We have to identify our problem with turnovers. We need to address that,” said Racela, adding they have to defend better particularly on SMB’s guards.
Austria said they didn’t actually make major adjustments after their Game One loss. “We just raised the intensity of our game,” he said.
“Our players know who are the players they need to stop. And it’s about pride. Our players don’t want to be like a shooting target of their opponents,” said Austria on their tough defense in the last two games.
San Miguel Beer continued to show its championship class versus TNT KaTropa in an intense battle, fashioning out a 109-97 win to grab the 2-1 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
Even with import Charles Rhodes on the bench with five fouls, the Beermen unleashed a crucial attack entering the homestretch and went on to nail a follow-up to their 102-88 victory in Game Two.
San Miguel seeks the pivotal 3-1 at the resumption of the series at 7 p.m. Wednesday also at the Big Dome.
Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos and June Mar Fajardo opened a 99-88 SMB lead then Rhodes returned to the floor to help the Beermen complete the decisive win.
Rhodes came through with a double-double game with 25 points and 20 rebounds, with Ross, Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot had their significant contributions for the Beermen who struck hard in the second half.
Jason Castro, RR Garcia and Josh Smith spearheaded TNT’s challenge. Curiously, RR Pogoy remained practically missing in action, finishing with a big fat egg for the second game in a row.
A heated confrontation between Ross and Ryan Reyes midway through the second period nearly escalated into a brawl in an accident curiously involving TNT import reserves Mike Myers and Mike Craig.
The two earlier figured in a thrash-talking tussle with Ross and other SMB players, and had to be ejected from the VIP row. They then transferred behind the TNT bench, and figured in an altercation with SMB personalities on the way to the dugout at the halftime break.
The first half was a fierce, intense battle where no team led by more than nine.
The Beermen led by nine at 32-25 before the Texters unloaded a 22-10 salvo to race ahead at 47-42.
A slam by Rhodes and a basket by Brian Heruela on a drive narrowed down their deficit to 46-47 at the turn.
Garcia and Cabagnot engaged in an exciting matchup in the first half with the TNT guard striking with 15 markers as against the SMB playmaker’s 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and one block.
Lassiter started the game with a three-pointer – his first in the series after going 0-of-11 from the arc in Game One then missing an attempt in Game Two.
Early in the third, Lassiter converted a tough, awkward twinner giving SMB a first double-digit spread at 62-52.
Infractions were called, with one player even tossed out of the game Friday night.
That could well be an indication that San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa are heading for more intense battles in the continuation of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven title showdown.
After splitting the first two games, the Texters and the Beermen break the deadlock in Game Three at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
At halftime, the PBA honors the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and the members of the PBA board will be on hand in brief rites saluting the gallant soldiers of the country, particularly those who served duty in the Marawi siege.
The Texters and the Beermen are breaking a one-game-all standoff after the former won Game One at 104-102 then the latter fought back with a 102-88 triumph in Game Two.
A relief for the Texters was RR Pogoy escaping suspension for a flagrant foul penalty 2 on Arwind Santos at the 8:39 mark of the third quarter. The TNT rookie hotshots was meted a hefty P30,000 fine, though.
Nonetheless, emotions are likely to be higher in Game Three because of the Game Two incident.
Santos was mad, insulted by Pogoy’s cheap shot in his groin.
“Galit na galit na galit na galit ako, ba’t niya ginawa yun, FEU pa naman siya,” said Santos,
hit while airborne with Pogoy at his back.
“Di ko na maalala kung ano yung pinagsasabi ko e. Talagang ang init ng ulo ko kanina. Isang ulo yung tinamaan niya e, alam mo yun? Lalake pa naman tayo, ayaw natin tinatamaan yung mga ganun. Panlaban natin yun. Alam niyo yan, di ba?” Santos continued.
TNT coach Nash Racela said it’s going to be a battle and his players have to stay focus and composed if they’re to have a chance in winning the series.
“We need to control our emotions more because things will not change,” said Racela.
“More than the defense of San Miguel, I know they have a scheme against Joshua (Smith), but more than the scheme of San Miguel, it was…. well the problem really was how we reacted to all the other things,” Racela added.
For San Miguel coach Leo Austria, others stepping up when one of them was struggling was the big key in their Game Two triumph.
“We’re trying to get a good chemistry. I need all of them. If one is not performing well, the others should step up. I hope we can sustain doing that,” said Austria.
June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot delivered the goods as Rhodes struggled for only seven points.
Santos was a key spark off the bench, getting away with 16 points and six rebounds. (SB)
The Philippine Basketball Association holds two special events as part of its Alagang PBA program today, spearheading a blood-donation event and holding rites to salute the gallant soldiers of the country.
A number of PBA stars lead 300 individuals who have confirmed to join the blood-donation program slated from 12 noon to 4:30 p.m. at the Green Gate of the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Walk-ins will also be entertained in the event supported by TNT KaTropa, Fitbar, Gardenia, Chooga Chiller, Chooks-to-go, PBA Café, Crystal Clear, Fast Aid, the Philippine Red Cross, Smart Araneta Coliseum and PBA media partners Rush on Cignal and TV5.
Sen. Dick Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, is likely to grace the event.
At halftime of Game Three of the San Miguel Beer-TNT KaTropa title showdown, the PBA honors the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa and the members of the PBA board will be on hand to extend condolences and sympathies to those who died in action in the Marawi siege. The PBA is also donating some amount to the wounded soldiers and those who perished.
San Miguel Beer made sure Friday night that Josh Smith or any other TNT KaTropa player would not spring another surprise.
Charles Rhodes had a quiet night but the SMB locals put things together as the Beermen throttled to a 102-88 rout of the TNT KaTropa in Game Two of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Taking into heart their 102-104 loss in Game One, the SMB ace locals came back with vengeance in their eyes and pummelled the Ka Tropa badly in the second quarter and onwards.
June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter starred as San Miguel tied the best-of-seven championship series at 1-1.
Game Three is set at 6:30 p.m. Sunday also at the Big Dome.
The only surprise the Ka Tropa pulled off in the game was a hot 17-0 start by Jason Castro, RR Pogoy, Anthony Semerad, Kelly Williams and Moala Tautuaa.
The Ka Tropa, however, were stopped on their tracks no sooner, and the Beermen seized command, 52-43, at the half.
Fajardo came through with a double-double game with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Ross had his own near double-double effort with 20 markers and nine assists plus five rebounds.
Santos, meanwhile, was a key spark off the bench, getting away with 16 points and six rebounds.
Rhodes struggled for just seven points and 11 rebounds while Smith had 11 markers, six rebounds and five assists for TNT.
The Beermen missed their first six attempts and turned the ball over thrice before scoring a first basket courtesy of Cabagnot with already four minutes into the game.
Santos provided the wake-up call as he subbed for Charles Rhodes, scoring 11 points on 3-of-3 field goals and 2-of-2 charities as the Beermen chopped an early 17-point deficit down to eight, 24-32, at the end of the opening quarter.
The SMB coach sat out Rhodes early after committing three errors and missing three shots in the initial salvo of the contest.
And still largely through the effort of their locals, the Beermen roared on in the second period and surged ahead, 52-43, at the half.
After an early explosion of six three-pointers on a high 50-percent clip, the Ka Tropa went silent in the second period, making only 1-of-7 treys and 3-of-10 twinners.
The Beermen sustained a thorough beating of the Ka Tropa in the final half.