DON'T expect any let-up by San Miguel when the Beermen go for a Finals berth in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) on Thursday night.
The Beermen try to wrap up their semifinals encounter against Sports Rev Thailand Slammers when Game Four of the best-of-five semifinals is played at the Nimibtr Stadium in Bangkok.
San Miguel goes to the 8 p.m. encounter holding a 2-1 edge in the series. Defending champions Indonesia Warriors hold a 2-0 edge over Malaysia heading to Game Three of their own Final Four series on Wednesday night at the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Veteran Asi Taulava said the loss of the Beermen in Game One was a big wake-up call for the team, which quickly bounced back by winning the next two games of the semis.
“It’s all about staying focused,” said Taulava in an interview after San Miguel’s Game Three win, 70-62. “We learned our lesson in Game One. We were overconfident and they (Slammers) stole Game One from us. Now, every game is a serious game, it’s like a championship.”
San Miguel coach Leo Austria also believes composure will be the key in Game Four after the Slammers nearly overhauled a 21-point deficit only to fall short in the end on Tuesday night.
Holding a 39-18 lead in the second period, the Beerman only managed to score six points in the third, allowing the Slammers to come back.
San Miguel imports Justin Williams and Brian Williams also missed a big part of the decisive fourth after they fouled out one after the other.
“We have to be composed,” Austria said. “Our emotion was too high and we committed a lot of technical fouls. It was something that we need to arrest. We need to stay focused. If we do that, there’s no distraction that will destroy us.”
Taulava isn’t ruling out a Thailand comeback after what coach Joe Bryant’s boys showed in Game Three.
“Coach Bryant is pushing his team. Luckily, we had a big lead and we held them back,” said Taulava, who had 13 points and six rebounds in Game Three.
Brian Williams topscored for the Beermen with 14 points, while Justin Williams had nine points and four blocks.
Import Chris Charles had 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Froilan Baguion had 13 for the Slammers, who will now try to extend the series to a deciding Game Five scheduled at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City on June 3.