By WAYLON GALVEZ
Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – San Mig Super Coffee vs Talk ’N Text
Manila, Philippines – Talk ’N Text tries to sustain the momentum when it clashes with San Mig Super Coffee in Game 4 of their PLDT Home Telpad Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup semifinal series with the Texters needing another win to bring the series to a deciding fifth game.
Game time is 8 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Texters were on the brink of elimination after two consecutive losses in their best-of-five showdown but won Game 3 convincingly, 112-86, last Monday to earn a reprieve.
TNT Coach Norman Black credited the team’s torrid shooting where they shot 50 percent from the field while going 14-of-32 from three-point territory to prevent elimination.
“We are still in survival mode,” said Black, who had six players score in double digit led by Ranidel de Ocampo who had 24 points. Import Paul Harris had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
“Our attitude will be to get one more win so we can put some pressure on them.
Simply, it’s all or nothing for us so we will go out and fight for our lives,” said Black who has 11 PBA title under his belt.
TNT is hoping to become just the fourth team to win a five-game series after dropping the first two games. The teams that did that are Crispa in 1975 Third Conference Finals (versus Totota), Purefoods in 1990 Third Conference (against Alaska), and Ginebra in 2010 Philippine Cup quarterfinals (opposite TNT).
In the first two games, TNT shot just 37 percent from the field, but the team’s aggressiveness paid off in Game 3.
Down by a point (21-20) after the first quarter, TNT used a 32-16 second quarter blitzkrieg that gave them a 52-37 advantage at halftime. Harris, Ocampo and Alapag joined forces to lead the rally as the Texters made 55 percent of their shots (11-of-20), while limiting the Mixers to just 31.3 percent shooting (5-of-16).
Talk ’N Text continued its dominance in the second half where it established its biggest lead of the game at 28 points, 92-64, following a three-pointer from Niño Canaleta with 10:15 left in the game.
In the early going of the fourth quarter, San Mig Super Coffee Coach Tim Cone already pulled his starters out of the game, giving import Marqus Blakely, Japes Yap, PJ Simon, Joe Devance and Marc Pingris the much-needed rest.
Known for using that tactic instead of forcing the players to fight back from a big lead, Cone is hoping that his players will be ready as they try again to finish off their archrival.
“Sometimes you can’t get out of the way of the oncoming train,” said Cone, whose team defeated TNT in Game 4 of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals last May 15 for their third straight PBA title.
“TNT played with a lot of pride and it showed up in the score. Now our job is to put that one away, move forward, and get ready for Game 4. It will be a great test of our character,” he added.