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Apr 09, 2019

Beermen's quest for 5th straight Philippine Cup title on the line in duel with KaTropa

AFTER prevailing over San Miguel Beer in two of their three meetings thus far this season, coach Bong Ravena believes his TNT side has now gotten its "Beat-the-Beermen" formula down pat.

"Make it hard for them," Ravena has said. "Stick to our usual, 'yung sistema namin, depensa. We have to stop (June Mar) Fajardo, we have to stop their shooters."

The KaTropa do not plan on deviating much from that strategy when they take on the defending champions anew Wednesday in the deciding game of their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

TNT shouldn't and would have to be ready in the face of an expected all-out assault by SMB to stay alive in its quest to extend its own league record and cop a fifth straight Philippine Cup title.

"I think we have made the necessary adjustments na minor lang naman," said Beermen coach Leo Austria on the eve of the match which comes a day after SMB's 88-93 loss that neutralized its 80-78 win in the best-of-three matchup's opener.

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"It's more on the mind-set of the players, na they have to dig deeper para at least ma-match intensity and energy ng kalaban," added Austria.

Ravena admitted luck played a part in the win, but desire also did as the KaTropa were fighting for their tournament lives.

"We were just lucky. Our goal is to stay in this series, na manalo kami tonight," maintained Ravena following Game 2.

"Nothing to celebrate. San Miguel played really well. Buti na lang me mga shots kami na pumapasok. Iyung mga outside shots namin. Iyon ang nawala last game," added Ravena.

"Siguro we played harder, compared to our last game."

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Indeed, that Monday win was a lot closer than TNT's 104-93 victory in their elimination round meeting last Jan. 27 and it's now a matter of the KaTropa bringing another A-game to advance to their first semis stint since the 2017 Governors' Cup.

"Hopefully, next game iyung intensity namin, energy namin pareho pa rin or more," said Ravena. "Pahinga muna bukas and then tingnan naman namin adjustments (needed)." (NC)