INDONESIA Warriors head coach Todd Purves insists his team can still bounce back after falling into a 0-2 hole in the ABL Finals, drawing confidence from the fact that they lost two games by an average margin of only three points.
Purves said he was satisfied with the effort of the defending champion Warriors even though they are now in danger of losing the crown to the San Miguel Beermen following a 65-66 loss in Game Two on Sunday.
“I’m extremely proud of our effort. We gave ourselves a chance to win under a hostile environment against a great team. And that’s all I can ask from my guys,” said Purves.
In Game Two, the Beermen ran a perfect inbound play that was completed by an open Brian Williams inside for the marginal basket with 5.2 seconds to play.
Purves said the Game Two loss hasn’t dampened the spirits of the Warriors as Games Three and, if necessary, Four is set on June 12 and 15 at the Mahaka Square in Jakarta.
“We came out one play short and we look forward to getting back to Jakarta for more good basketball,” Purves said.
The loss spoiled the effort of Fil-American Stanley Pringle, who had 21 points including a basket that gave the Warriors a 65-64 lead until Williams’ game-winner.
“Stan is just a heck of a player. He has been in big situations and he has won a championship before. Obviously, I have a lot of faith in him. I gave him some liberty down the stretch. I thought he played as hard as he could and gave us all he had,” Purves said.
The game-winning play was made after the Warriors called their final timeout, giving the Beermen - who had no timeouts left - the opportunity to set up the play to Williams, who was found wide open by Leo Avenido after a back screen from Chris Banchero.
Purves explained that the timeout was made so that they could talk about their defensive strategy in the final moments of the game.
“We talked about basically how we are going to defend if they threw the ball down to Asi (Taulava) on the low block or Banchero coming off those screens," he said.
“They hit with a back screen and my guys got caught in the back screen. It was a team effort, it wasn’t one person’s mistake. We came out one play short,” Purves said.