Jul 12, 2018

Josh Smith says Beermen are champions for a reason

Joshua Smith hopes to complete some unfinished business if given a chance to return to the PBA after TNT KaTropa suffered another playoff defeat against San Miguel in the Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals.

TNT was swept by San Miguel in their best-of-three series Wednesday, a year after the KaTropa absorbed a 4-2 loss to the Beermen in Commissioner's Cup Finals with the hulking Smith leading their charge.

"Got close to a championship last year, ended in the quarterfinals this year," Smith said after the 106-102 setback to the Beermen. "If it all works out, I wouldn't mind coming back."

It was another frustrating campaign for the KaTropa, who bolstered its roster this conference by acquiring Terrence Romeo from GlobalPort in a trade and bringin back Smith to reinforce mainstays Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario.

But they faced a familiar foe in San Miguel in the quarterfinals. that saw them squander a 23-point second quarter lead to lose 121-110 in the opener last Monday, with Smith fouling out late in the contest.

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The KaTropa had a chance to extend the series to a rubber match when Castro tied the score at 98-all on a triple late in Game 2. But import Renaldo Balkman knocked four free throws in the closing second to put the game away.

"A lot of heads down inside," Smith said, describing the atmosphere at the TNT dressing room. "We got close but they're (SMB) champions for a reason."

"We have more talent this year," he later said. "We got guys that were contributing to other teams. But like I said, playing a team like San Miguel, you can't make mistakes."

Smith is scheduled to resume his pro stint in Japan, though not ruling a third PBA stint if time permits.

"I just told them that I'm one phone call away," Smith said.(JT)

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