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PBA: Mixers gun for crown

JAMES Yap and Larry Fonacier

Game 5 on Sunday, if Talk ‘N Text can make it happen

Game Today (Philsports Arena)
8 p.m. – Talk ’N Text vs San Mig Super Coffee

Manila, Philippines – San Mig Super Coffee coach Tim Cone has another challenge to his players – don’t let this golden opportunity slip away.

With a chance of completing a mini-Grand Slam, Cone asked his boys to give it all in today’s Game 4 in the hope of finishing off Talk ’N Text in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup title series at the Philsports Arena.

While he admits that they have so much respect for the Tropang Texters, Cone said they are determined to end the series tonight. Game time is set at 8 p.m.
“We have absolute total respect for Talk ‘N Text and their guys over there,” said Cone.

The Mixers gained a 2-1 edge in their best-of-five series after hacking out a 77-75 win last Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Despite their Game 3 win which Cone described it as a game for the ages, the American coach said they have to play like wounded tigers – full of fire and passion.

“We’ll definitely go for it. We don’t want to go to a Game 5 against Talk ’N Text, where anything can happen,” added Cone, who has steered San Mig to the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup, 2013 Governors’ Cup and 2013-14 Philippine Cup titles since arriving three years ago.

Cone is shooting for his 17th championship while the Mixers are seeking their 12th since the team joined the league as Purefoods in 1988.

A Commissioner’s Cup triumph will also put San Mig on the threshold of a real Grand Slam, a feat last achieved by Cone’s Alaska Milk back in 1996.

Those scenarios, however, will become a reality if the Mixers can finish the job.

“Basta kami handa lang kami. Gawin namin lahat ng makakaya para makuha na namin sa Game 4,” said Game 3 hero James Yap, whose jumper in the dying seconds of Game 3 gave San Mig a 76-75 lead before TNT failed to score on its final two possessions.

Yap, together with PJ Simon, will again be the focal points of the Mixers’ offense, though the two need more support from hardworking import James Mays, Marc Pingris, Mark Barroca, Joe Devance, Alex Mallari, and rookies Ian Sanaglang and Justin Melton.

The supporting cast, according to Cone, has to step up, since TNT is capable of bouncing back just like in Game 2 when ace guard Jayson Castro exploded for 30 points, helping the Texters win the game, 86-76.

But the Texters shot a dismal 30-of-92 (32%) in Game 3, their lowest in the series, and blew a four-point lead with over a minute to play to put themselves in a do-or-die situation.

“We got to put this one behind us,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black.

“I just hope that the game is governed well to give us a fair chance of winning. Contacts in the game of basketball should be called evenly on both ends… just that fairness in sports, fairness in the game,” Black said.