AFTER Petron Blaze’s ugly start the last time, Boosters coach Gee Abanilla vows to come out with a stronger effort to regain control of the PBA Governors Cup title series when they clash with San Mig Coffee in Game Five on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters managed to crawl back from a 28-point first half deficit to take the lead for a time in the final period. But they eventually lost steam, suffering an 86-88 decision against the Mixers in Game Four Friday night.
The win allowed San Mig to tie the series at 2-2, reducing the Finals to a best-of-three affair.
“Credit San Mig for coming out really strong. We’ll be back on Sunday. We’ll be well prepared on what might transpire, but we’re definitely not giving up, we’ll be heads up,” said a determined Abanilla.
Game time is 4:45 p.m.
Abanilla, who is out to end Petron’s two-year title drought, said they just can’t allow another slow start or San Mig will gain the confidence to take control of the series.
“I don’t want anything haunting me, that’s for sure. This (Game Four) is a game we have to learn. That first, we can’t allow them (Mixers) to get a big lead and second, we have to take care of business right from the start and finish it all the way,” explained the Boosters rookie coach.
On the other hand, Mixers coach Tim Cone said they can’t look back and dwell on their near monumental collapse in Game Four.
“We were just trying really hard. In the fourth quarter, I kept saying, we can’t regret, we can’t feel bad losing the lead, we have to play it from here. We can’t get frustrated,” said Cone, who admitted he was drained coaching the Mixers during their bad second half defensive effort.
San Mig forward Marc Pingris, who provides the team’s energy on the defensive end, said they can’t afford to play complacent basketball at this stage of the tournament.
“Maganda yung depensa namin sa first and second quarter. Pero yung third quarter, parang nag-easy easy na naman kami. Ganun ang nagiging sakit namin eh, pero sa fourth nagising kami na Finals na ito, di dapat kami easy-easy, di naman ito elims,” explained the 6-foot-5 Pingris, who finished with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.