• Beermen target 2-0 lead vs KaTropa

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    Defending champion San Miguel Beer guns for a 2-0 lead against Talk ‘N Text KaTropa in Game 2 of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at 7 p.m. tonight, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

    The Beermen are enjoying an 11-game winning streak, which already tied their franchise record. A win in Game 2 will be a new franchise record but head coach Leo Austria is not focusing on the feat.

    Junmar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer attempts to block a shot by Moala Tautuaa of Talk ‘N Text in Game 1 of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday. PHOTO BY BOB DUNGO JR.

    “It’s a bonus if we get that (record) but it’s not a priority. We need three more wins to close out this series and that’s our focus so far. We only have one game in this series,” said Austria.

    “It could give us some pressure or possibly motivate us. Every game, we’re out there to win. I think they know how to win and they understand how to win. They’re playing like an orchestra,” he added.

    San Miguel Beer was impressive in Game 1, leaning on its balanced scoring to secure a 119-98 victory but shooting guard Marcio Lassiter downplayed their series opener win, saying there is still a room for improvement particularly in taking care of the ball.

    “There is still more room for improvement,” said Lassiter, who posted 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Game 1. “I think our turnovers got them easy points. So if we cut those down, we’ll have a better chance [in Game 2].”

    The Beermen committed 20 turnovers in Game 1 and KaTropa translated them to 17 points.

    Three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos and playmaker Alex Cabagnot also provided support in Game 1 and are expected to lead their charge in Game 2.

    Despite the loss, TNT KaTropa coach Nash Racela is still optimistic of the team’s chances of tying the series.

    “We will find ways,” he said. “It’s a series, it’s going to be a long series and hopefully we stop them. There is always a solution we just need to find it.”

    Racela added that fatigue caught them in Game 1 but won’t use it as an excuse.

    “We cannot think that we’re tired. If we have that mindset, we’re going to lose the entire series. We have to minimize our mistakes.”

    Jayson Castro, who led the KaTropa in Game 1 with 27 points and eight assists, said they need to make the necessary adjustments in Game 2 in order to send the series into a best-of-five affair.

    “We need to adjust on our defense but we’re still confident in this series. We have to exert more defense on Fajardo and stop their three point shots,” said Castro.

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