Jul 10, 2018

San Miguel tries to stretch unbeaten record against TnT KaTropa

San Miguel Beer hasn't lost a game against TNT KaTropa in over a year.

And the Beermen vow to do everything they can to preserve their streak versus the Texters as they go for a sweep in their PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-three quarterfinals showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.

They bucked a sloppy start and the Texters' torrid shooting in the first half, and made a 34-point turnaround in their 121-110 triumph in Game One Monday.

It was San Miguel's seventh straight win over TNT dating back to Game Five of their title confrontation in the same tourney last year.

San Miguel coach Leo Austria braces for a tougher game as they face a TNT side that's now fighting for dear life.

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"Their back is against the wall, siguradong mas mabigat na laban ang ibibigay nila," said Austria whose team needed to overcome a 23-point deficit to salvage the series opener.

A good break for the Beermen was Josh Smith getting into foul-trouble situation early and eventually fouling out with over three minutes left to play.

"Hindi ko na itatago, our game plan was to send them into foul-trouble, at iyon naman ang nangyari," said Austria.

TNT questioned some of the fouls called on Smith, even mulling to file a protest, but decided not to do it in the end.

"Refs got to let me play," said Smith, himself questioning some of the calls whistled against him.

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Smith, however, said the bottom line is that they have to come out and battle to force a rubber match.

"We have to get to practice and get ready for Game Two. It's win or go home," said the burly TNT import.

Austria insists TNT is now more dangerous a foe.

"(Game One loss) is a minor setback for them. We don't want another slow start. Mahirap ulitin yung nangyari," said Austria.

San Miguel Beer stared at an early 23-point deficit but turned the game around upon Smith's exit on fouls and went on to carve out the 11-point victory.

Renaldo Balkman and June Mar Fajardo made a killing underneath the basket when Smith was already confined on the bench, starring in a vicious 18-4 closing run the Beermen unleashed to salvage the game that the Texters dominated in the first three quarters.(SB)