TNT KaTropa will try to push defend-ing champion San Miguel Beer on the brink of elimination as it shoots for a commanding 3-1 lead in Game 4 of the best-of-seven semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup today, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Game starts at 7 p.m. as KaTropa coach Nash Racela expects the Beermen to make the necessary adjustments, as a loss would put them deeper in the series and jeopardize their three-peat bid in the Philippine Cup.
“They (Beermen) are still unpredictable. Actually, they did a lot of things new to us and we’re expecting to see more in the couple of games,” said the rookie TNT coach.
“Coach Leo (Austria) is a veteran coach and I expect him to bounce back. He has coached a lot of playoff games,” he added.
Ex-Beerman Danny Seigle, now 40, who gave Racela some quality minutes in their 98-92 win in Game 3, also expects his former team to make adjustments.
“Game of adjustments like a chess match. It is going to be a tough one because they will bounce back,” said Seigle, who won six titles with the Beermen.
Seigle contributed four crucial points in the fourth quarter of Game 3, giving an 84-81 lead with 7:53 to go. Seigle also had two blocks in Game 3 to reach the 300 mark.
For Game 3 heroes Ranidel De Ocampo and rookie Roger Pogoy, KaTropa must treat the game like a do-or-die duel and not allow San Miguel to recover its confidence.
“We need to keep playing our best,” said de Ocampo, who topscored the team in Game 3 with 24 markers.
“We have to play our best both on offense and defense,” said Pogoy, who notched 22 points on top of six triples and seven rebounds.
Austria remains optimistic in the series as they’ve been in this situation before but admitted they need to double their effort in Game 4 to send the series into a best-of-three affair.
“They still need two win two more games to win the series. We’ve been in a situation like this before and we have the experience,” said Austria.
“We recovered from 0-3 deficit before but we need to bounce back stronger or else it will be tough [1-3] for us especially against Talk ‘N Text,” he added.
Austria was referring to their epic comeback last year against Alaska after being down 0-3 in the Philippine Cup finals and won the series by winning the next four games.
Beermen guards Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross are also confident that they can tie the series and win it all.
“We’re motivated going to Game 4. We can still figure this out,” said Cabagnot.
“We’re still in and we’re not out yet we’re just down by 1-2. We’ve been in situation like this before against Rain or Shine and Alaska. We’ve been in any position before,” said Ross.