TNT has solved its tendency to slow down at the finish - at least in Game Three.
And back in command in the series, the Tropang Giga are determined to sustain what has been effective in their bid versus the San Miguel Beermen.
Coach Chot Reyes is expected to call on his troops to push harder, and hustle and defend harder as they seek to tighten the noose on the beleaguered Beermen in Game Four of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals duel at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga Sunday.
Tip off is at 2 p.m. with the Tropang Giga also hoping to sustain the torrid shooting they enjoyed Friday as they try to move within a win of the title playoff.
Reyes said they have to make their outside shots to open up the solid San Miguel defense as they did in their 115-98 win in Game Three.
"San Miguel is a very tough defensive team, man for man. They have elite defenders in Chris Ross and Marcio (Lassiter), not to mention their bigs, they are very good defenders. We really have to find ways to hit our outside shots," said Reyes.
True enough, it helped the Tropang Giga big time as they went 13-of-35 from deep Friday. Mikey Williams had the most number of treys with four from 12 attempts as the prized Fil-Am rookie broke out of his personal slump.
Then there's TNT's relentless hustle and choking defense.
Reyes insists to outwork and make things harder for Beermen is their only chance to compete against the loaded SMB team.
This is where guys like Dave Marcelo, Glenn Khobuntin, Chris Exciminiano and Brian Heruela are coming in to complement scorers Williams, RR Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Poy Erram and Jayson Castro.
"After Jayson (Castro), Roger (Pogoy), Mikey (Williams), Troy (Rosario) and Poy (Erram), we basically have the 'kurimaws.' That's how important their roles are on our team," said Reyes.
Reyes said TNT wouldn't have been able to keep in step with San Miguel if not for his blue-collar workers, especially in the absence of Kelly Williams.
The one-time MVP awardee is still out in Game 4 but may already be ready for Game 5.
"I think the earliest possible is Game 5. That's the earliest possible, but still it's not a guarantee," said Reyes of their ace center who is observing the league's health and safety protocols. (SB)