TNT KaTropa and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel clash for a pivotal 2-1 lead today in Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinals in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
After tying the series at 1-1 in Game 2 with a 103-96 win in Batangas City last Wednesday, the KaTropa brace for a strong comeback by the Gin Kings in their 7 p.m. encounter.
TNT coach Nash Racela said their Game 2 does not mean anything and their focus now is the adjustments that Ginebra will make in Game 3.
“All we did was cut it down to a best-of-three. We’ll try to prepare ourselves for Ginebra adjustments,” said Racela.
“I don’t know what kind of game plan is going to do by coach Tim (Cone), so we just have to prepare,” he added.
Despite the morale-boosting triumph in Game 2, Racela admitted that they felt dwarfed by the Gin Kings in the series.
“We always believe that we’re capable of beating Ginebra, but it takes a lot of focus, effort and a bit of luck from our part to make it happen. We’re outsized,” said Racela.
Import Glen Rice, who was hounded by foul trouble in Game 2, poured in 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter while Jayson Castro also shone with 20 points and 10 assists in their series-tying victory.
Racela hopes his wards can bring the same effort to secure the lead in the series for the first time.
The Gin Kings, who routed the KaTropa in Game 1 (121-94), hope to draw solid support from the locals, as import Justin Brownlee was the lone bright spot in their offense in Game 2.
Brownlee had 25 points and 10 rebounds in their loss while Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter and Joe Devance, who notched solid numbers in Game 1, failed to deliver this time.
Slaughter, who had 16 points in the series opener, committed turnovers and was held down to just eight points. Devance scored just four points in 29 minutes in Game 2 after scoring 19 in Game 1.
JOSEF T. RAMOS