TNT KaTropa seeks to deliver a near-flawless performance when it takes its first of two chances to close out San Miguel Beer in their PBA Philippine Cup series in Game Six on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Texters moved on the cusp of dethroning the Beermen with a 101-94 victory on Thursday night and now face the daunting task of finishing off the two-time defending champions in the 5 p.m. encounter.
“Ito yung siguradong pinakamahirap na tapusin na series, kasi sila yung defending champion, sila yung pinakamalakas na team,” TNT veteran Ranidel de Ocampo said.
“Kailangan namin ng kumpleto at perpekto na game, yung halos wala talaga kaming mali para masara namin yung series.”
De Ocampo joined Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams in spearheading the TNT attack in Game Five where they pumped in 18 points apiece, but the veteran core as well as the young guns are bracing for a fightback by the Beermen to force a sudden death.
TNT coach Nash Racela, for his part, is anticipating whatever adjustments SMB counterpart Leo Austria is preparing for.
“That’s the most crucial part in any series,” the young coach said. “Of course you have a lot of hours in the office, at home, with the video, trying to anticipate and maybe think — sometimes we think even harder what the other team’s gonna do.”
“But sometimes we spend ten hours thinking about it and then when you go to the game, you don’t see it happening, so I think the more important thing is in-game adjustments,” he added.
The Texters are not just bracing, but even expecting a comeback by a team that once overcome three do-or-die games in the finals of the last all-Filipino conference against Alaska.
“Winning two games is a lot easier than winning three straight games,” Racela said. “That’s something I learned early in life na you cannot be complacent, overconfident, or think that you’re gonna win the next one.”