MAGNOLIA translated its desire into game the last time and got amply rewarded.
It's now the TNT Tropang Giga's turn to put on their hard hats and wrest back momentum from the Hotshots in Game 3 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals duel Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Magnolia dug deep within itself and managed to even up the best-of-seven series with a 92-88 victory last Friday, negating a 96-108 loss in the opener just two days before.
TNT coach Chot Reyes blamed the loss on his side being outworked by a team that was supposed to be tired going into its third game in six days.
"We lost in the effort department and we turned the ball over too many times," said Reyes following the game that saw his team falling behind by as much as 58-77, early in the fourth period.
"If they outwork us, we have no chance of winning. Our team cannot out-talent teams, we do not have the size to overpower other teams, we do not have the talent of the other teams," added Reyes. "If we're beaten in the effort department, we have no chance."
The final statistics bear out Reyes' statement with the difference most glaring off the boards where Magnolia hauled down 21 offensive rebounds and turned those into 11 points. In contrast, TNT only had 11 offensive rebounds for nine points.
Also, the Tropa committed more turnovers (22) than assists (21) with 19 of those miscues committed in the first three quarters.
It was by design, according to Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. "Ang sabi ko lang naman sa kanila is we have to go back to our defensive mindset, 'yung defensive mentality namin. Kasi kaya kami nandito because of that," he said.
"Now we did a good job, especially sa first half. Kumbaga nakuha na namin momentum namin, nakuha na namin rhythm noon on defense. Maganda naman naging resulta."
Banking most on its offensive sock led by Mikey Williams and Jayson Castro TNT managed to mount a furious fightback and make it close in the endgame, but the harm has already been done by then for Reyes.
"We dug ourselves a hole," stated Reyes. "We almost climbed all the way back. But we should not allow that to happen against a good team like this." (NC)