Displaying items by tag: pba

PBA Finals ‘far from over,’ says Beermen’s Austria

  • Published in Sports

By: Randolph B. Leongson - Reporter / @RLeongsonINQINQUIRER.net 

Photo: Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Taking a day off from their heated 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Monday, San Miguel and TNT buckled down to work on Tuesday as both teams prepared for Game 4.

For Beermen coach Leo Austria, he knows his team should guard against complacency with their 2-1 series lead and must keep on pounding to further put the pressure on the KaTropa.

“It’s far from over. We don’t want to celebrate because this win is nothing yet. We need to prepare for our fourth game so we can have a commanding lead,” Austria said.

Austria acknowledges that winning the last two games of a best-of-seven series are the hardest games to win knowing that San Miguel is up against a TNT side playing with a sense of urgency.

“It’s really hard to get win number three. You can see that teams are now showing their emotions and the players’ intensities are already coming out that things are starting to get heated,” he said.

But Austria reminded his players to focus on the task at hand as the Beermen seek to get to the hill and snag a commanding 3-1 series edge.

“I told the players that we have to be focused and we don’t want to engage in any untoward incident against them. We know our goal and we should do our part to get it,” he said.

On the other hand, TNT coach Nash Racela downplayed the situation as he continues to exude optimism going into Wednesday’s game.

“We’ve identified our problem, which is definitely our turnovers, so that’s something we’re trying to address,” he said. “We told the team to make sure we do our homework, watch the game, and study. I told everybody to pitch in if they have suggestions, be ready to throw it, and prepare for Wednesday.”



Imports TNT X-factor

  • Published in Sports

By: Musong R. Castillo - Reporter / @MusongINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Photo: TNT KaTropa is still undecided on which import to play in Game 1—at least—of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Wednesday.

Joshua Smith, the Texters’ 330-pound banger, attended the title series press launch on Monday, giving the impression that he will play despite torn ligaments in his right toe that left him hobbling in the last two games of their Final Four series against Barangay Ginebra.

But over at another table sat Mike Myers, an equally impressive specimen who is listed as standby by the coaching staff in case medical examinations to be done later in the day would keep Smith out of commission.

So where does this leave pre-series favorite San Miguel Beer which must prepare for every single component of its title series foe?

And does TNT coach Nash Racela, in keeping his cards close to his chest, have an advantage in any way? Is he throwing San Miguel’s preparations off?

Grand Slam-winning coach Tommy Manotoc feels that both teams have an advantage, albeit slight, with the element of surprise belonging to the Texters because they have two imports at their disposal.

“It will take San Miguel three quarters at most to adjust [to the new import of TNT], but that’s all,” Manotoc said over the phone. “But you have to keep in mind that even [the local players of] TNT would have to adjust [playing] with their new import in such a high stakes game.”

“So it can work both ways—the positives and the negatives,” he said. “The advantage that TNT has is that it has two imports at its disposal and the advantage that San Miguel has is that it still has (June Mar) Fajardo and (Charles) Rhodes.”

Manotoc feels that TNT must have its import—whether that be Smith or Myers—neutralize Fajardo, leaving Rhodes as Racela’s other defensive concern.

“The question mark is if a local can guard Rhodes,” Manotoc said. “TNT’s locals would have to defend him, and he will be a handful.”

San Miguel team manager Gee Abanilla has compiled materials of Myers’ past games in the US and Korea since seeing him behind the TNT bench on Saturday night.

And Abanilla feels that TNT will be playing with Smith, at least for the 7 p.m. game slated Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.



PBA: Star, TNT eye semis

  • Published in Sports

by Jonas Terrado

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Star vs Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – Meralco vs TNT KaTropa

The Star Hotshots and TNT KaTropa look to confirm their place in the semifinals against struggling opponents as the best-of-three quarterfinal series resumes tonight in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Star takes the first crack at advancing to the last four in the 4:15 p.m. opener against Rain or Shine, which suffered the third worst playoff loss in franchise history during the series opener last Monday.

Star import Ricardo Ratliffe, center, collars the rebound against Rain or Shine’s James Yap, right, and Beau Belga in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-3 playoffs late Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Hotshots won 118-82. (PBA Media | Manila Bulletin)
Star import Ricardo Ratliffe, center, collars the rebound against Rain or Shine’s James Yap, right, and Beau Belga in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-3 playoffs late Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Hotshots won 118-82. (PBA Media | Manila Bulletin)

TNT plays Meralco in the other game at 7 p.m., with the latter hoping to see the dominant form that import Alex Stepheson has shown in the early part of the tournament.

The coaches of both Game 1 winners see plenty of difficulties in closing out their series.

“We know na defending champion kasi itong Rain or Shine, so hindi namin pwedeng balewalain ito,” said Hotshots coach Chito Victolero. “Maganda panalo namin (sa Game 1), but it’s not yet over. Let’s see, sana maging maganda ulit ang laro namin.”

The Hotshots leaned on a 15-0 second quarter run sparked by Jio Jalalon that set the stage for a 118-82 victory over the Elasto Painters, whose struggles have left them on the brink of another early exit in the second conference following the departure of long-time mentor Yeng Guiao.

As for TNT coach Nash Racela, he can only think of numerous plots Meralco may execute after posting a 102-84 victory.

“We could only, of course, anticipate,” said Racela. “(Meralco’s) got a good coaching staff, for sure they’ll spend hours watching the game tape. We’ll do the same, and I can’t say right now but we’ll try to anticipate a lot of things.”

One of the things Racela will probably look ahead to is a more difficult defensive effort against Stepheson, who struggled with just nine points and 16 rebounds – a far cry from his conference averages of 16 points and 23 rebounds.

Meralco coach Norman Black was obviously upset with Stepheson’s performance, even pointing out the way TNT started the game with its import Joshua Smith on the bench because of the flu.

“As a former import, it would’ve been insulting for the other team not to start their import. I mean, if you did that against me, I’m gonna get 50 on you. So he needs to take it personal,” Black said.

“A lot of times when it’s an imported conference, let’s face it: the import plays really well, the locals play really well. If the import is not productive then the locals really don’t play that well. We just need for Alex to step up and do a much better job than what he did (in Game 1).”

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