July 01, 2017

With 3-2 series lead, Beermen go for the kill

AFTER another stinging loss to San Miguel Beer the burden is on TNT KaTropa to regroup, apply the adjustments it has made and give its all Sunday.

But the Beermen would come with their killer mentality, promising a do-or-die battle with the KaTropa in Game Six of their PBA Commissioner's Cup championship duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A follow-up by SMB on its 111-102 victory last Friday would enable it to wrap up the best-of-seven series at four games to two and give it its first mid-season crown in 17 years.

That is, if TNT could not act out the role of spoiler and forge a seventh and deciding game on Wednesday, something which coach Nash Racela has said and promised is their most immediate and overwhelming target.

“The goal is to get to a Game Seven, so 'yun naman 'yun," said Racela following the Game Five loss.

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"I mean your emotions cannot be dictated by this game,” Racela added. “You just have to focus on the next one, and there will be a Game Seven.”

SMB will come braced, with its spirits on a high following a game it won despite falling behind by as many as 15 points at the half.

“This is the momentum that you want heading into a wrap-up game,” said Beermen coach Leo Austria.

“The players are really aware of the situation we’re facing right now. Ang lahat sinasabi nila, if possible, matapos na bukas,” added the coach eyeing a fifth crown with the franchise.

It is yet unknown what tinkering TNT would do, but definitely fielding a big lineup in long stretches is not one it would go to much.

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A small lineup against TNT's three bigs is what SMB used in both staging its second half fightback and breakaway in Game Five. Racela tried to match up, but the momentum was far too gone on the Beermen's side.

Still, Austria is not one to be complacent. “I’m sure they will be adjusting, regarding what we did in the last game,"he said.

"We’re very aware of what will happen. Kaya nga ina-nacticipate na namin na they could go small or big. Pero lahat na iyan makikita lang natin during the game," continued Austria.

"Basta we have our own plans. Siguro ang keys dito kung gaano ka-mentally prepared ang mga players at kung paano kami mag-adjust during the game itself."