KaTropa eye sweep, finals slot vs Gin Kings


TNT KaTropa aims to sweep Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and book the first finals seat with a win in Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinal series of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Though up 2-0 and facing the team known for their never-say-die attitude, KaTropa head coach Nash Racela knows that the job is not done yet and they need to exert the same effort in their 7 p.m. encounter.

Barangay Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson goes for a layup against four Talk ‘N Text defenders during the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup semifinals. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“It’s a surprise that we’re up 2-0 in this series because it’s against Ginebra. You don’t really get this kind of advantage especially against a team like Ginebra,” said Racela.

“But knowing the character of this team, they never give up. If there is one team that can comeback, it is Ginebra,” he added. “We have to guard complacency and we have to be consistent in playing good defense and offense in Game 3.”

The Gin Kings made the right adjustments in Game 2 especially on import Joshua Smith, who was limited to just 16 points but TNT found an unlikely hero in Tony Semerad in its 107-103 victory last Tuesday.

Semerad, who was part of the multi-player deal that saw Katropa losing veteran shooter Larry Fonacier to NLEX, unloaded 12 of his 14 points in the final quarter to give TNT a needed lift.

“If I can do it again (Game 3), why not? If I’m open I will take the shot,” said Semerad, who played a crucial role despite being hobbled by foul trouble.

Gin Kings head coach Tim Cone hopes for a better finish from his better and also the support from their resident sixth man – the crowd.

“I realized it was a Tuesday and a day following Independence Day, but we really missed our big crowd. That has always been our edge. We’re hoping our crowd comes back to give us a huge lift to get us back in the series,” the mtulti-titled mentor said.

“At this point, through the first two games, TNT has hit the big shots and the big plays, and we have not. We’re expecting to turn that around, especially with the help of our fans,” he added.

Import Justin Brownlee and LA Tenorio scored 22 points each in Game 2, and they are expected to lead Ginebra’s charge in the do-or-die Game 3 as they try to stay alive in the series.


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