THE TNT-San Miguel Beer face-off has turned to be a virtual chess match that the guessing game is who's to make a bright tactical move in the pivotal Game 5.
It's a critical match for the 3-2 lead after the two teams split the first four matches in an exciting battle of wits between the two coaches and tough physical showdown among the combatants on the hard court.
TNT, however, would face taller odds if Poy Erram is declared unfit for Game 5 set at 6 p.m. at the Don Honorio Ventura State U Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
With a fractured cheekbone sustained in Game 4, the 6-foot-8 center is a game-time decision for coach Chot Reyes.
It would certainly help the TNT cause if Kelly Williams can return as hoped for by the Tropang Giga. The 6-foot-6 center missed the first four games of the series as he's observing the league's health and safety protocols.
Meanwhile, the Beermen are just bracing for a battle.
"It's a (virtual) best-of-three so Game 5 is really pivotal," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. "We expect our opponents to step up big and we have to be ready to counter and adjust to whatever they bring."
The Beermen came in their best form Sunday, pulling off a 116-90 rout to force the 2-2 deadlock.
As the underdogs against the loaded SMB team, TNT coach Chot Reyes has been saying they have to outdo themselves to have a chance to win the series.
"We need to get better," Reyes said.
The Tropang Giga didn't stand a chance the last time as the Beermen fired on all cylinders, storming out of the opening gate without looking back.
"As I've been saying, I feel we have a good team and if we play as a team, we'll be unstoppable," said Moala Tautuaa, among the vital cogs in their Game 4 victory. (SB)