Nov 24, 2020

Fuel Masters go for the knockout punch; Tropang Giga determined to extend series

SMART Clark Giga City. - Adjustment is the key word for TNT if it hopes to stay alive in its PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series against Phoenix Super LPG at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.

And from all indications, it is likely the Tropang Giga would be borrowing a page from the Fuel Masters' playbook and be unpredictable.

"Alam na alam na nila mga usual na ginagawa namin. Nasasangga na nila," admitted coach Bong Ravena on the eve of his TNT side's rematch with Phoenix in Game 4 of the best-of-five series Wednesday.

"Kailangan naming ibahin suntok, kasi kami nasusuntok nila, salag lang kami ng salag," added Ravena.

The Fuel Masters have already shown that by winning two straight games, the most recent a 92-89 decision last Sunday.

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Ravena also noted that Phoenix's threats come from different directions, featuring not only Game 3 hero Matthew Wright but also the likes of Jason Perkins, Calvin Abueva, Justin Chua, RJ Jazul, Alex Mallari, RR Garcia and even Brian Heruela.

In contrast, Bobby Ray Parks Jr has been consistent for the Tropang Giga, but the likes of Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Jayson Castro and Poy Erram have been inconsistent, leading to the whole team's marked dip in performance.

Still, Ravena noted that the games in the series, including TNT's 95-92 cliffhanger in the opener, have been close despite his Tropa's own flaws and lapses.

"Kasi nalalamangan kami pero nahahabol at nalalamangan pa namin, eh, so hindi malaking diperensiya," Ravena pointed out, maintaining the key for his team is executing in the stretch like what Phoenix has recently done.

"Execution lang sa depensa at opensa sa endgame. We just have to get over that hump, finish the game. Hindi porke't nahabol namin, okay na. We have to finish the game," added Ravena.

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"We have to think outside the box. Good thing we have had two days to prepare," Ravena also said.

Phoenix coach Topex Robinson said his team intends to help boost the morale of other underdogs, not only in the pro league or other sports but in everyday life. "If we can go to the finals, and inspire a lot of people, that's where we're headed," he said. (NC)