(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. – San Miguel vs TNT
(Series tied 1-1)
With renewed belief that it can slay a giant, TNT KaTropa eyes another win over the defending champion San Miguel Beermen when they break their 1-1 tie today in Game 3 of their best-of-seven semifinal series in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The KaTropa made what many predicted as a one-sided affair into a tight series after holding off the Beermen, 87-85, Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in a strong recovery from losing the opener last Wednesday at the Big Dome.
TNT fell 111-98 in Game 1 after allowing San Miguel to make 16 three-pointers, seven of which came in the opening quarter. This time, the KaTropa allowed the Beermen to convert just seven throughout Game 2.
KaTropa coach Nash Racela said their win not only put some life back into his team, but also kill some of the Beermen’s confidence following a franchise-tying 11-game winning streak.
“You don’t talk much about our confidence, but we talk much about San Miguel’s confidence which is really high with how their players move the floor, the way the antics na nakikita niyo sa kanila, that speak a lot about their confidence,” Racela said.
KaTropa star Jayson Castro said tying the series has brought them renewed vigor.
“At least yung confidence namin nandun na ulit. Yun lang din gusto namin na maka-isa, and then let’s see,” said Castro. “Kasi alam naman natin na sobrang lakas na team ang San Miguel, complete sila. So para talunin namin sila, kailangan namin ang isa’t-isa.”
It helped that TNT got valuable contributions from everyone, namely Troy Rosario – who had 14 points after going scoreless in Game 1 – and rookie forward Roger Pogoy (11 points and a go-ahead basket for an 83-82 TNT lead with under two minutes left in Game 2).
June Mar Fajardo, who scored 25 points for San Miguel, said he expected TNT to make a series out of it, even if the Beermen are the strong favorites.