Alaska Milk coach Luigi Trillo remains confident that the Aces can force a deciding Game Seven in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against powerhouse Talk ‘N Text, finding solace in the fact that the Texters haven’t beaten them twice in a row all season long.
The Texters clipped the Aces, 99-95, in Game Five on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena to gain a 3-2 series lead and move a win away from a third consecutive All-Filipino Finals appearance.
But Alaska's rookie mentor is hoping the Aces’ head-to-head matchup history against the Texters this season would favor them in the next game slated on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“The team that wins back to back first is going to make it. They haven’t beaten us back to back, we haven’t beaten them back to back. It’s been one (win for one team) and one (win for the other), so you’re proud of that,” Trillo said, noting the Texters beat them in the preseason, before they turned the tables around in the elimination round.
“You’re proud of your team and they have to roll with the punches. They can’t feel bad because this is Talk ‘N Text so we have to go back to the drawing board. We have three days to adjust.”
On Sunday night, Trillo lauded how the Texters defended them.
“They gave us thirty three-point shot attempts so we fell into the trap. And then you just have to admire how they play defense. We were miserable all-around. We didn’t give Sonny (Thoss) and Gabby (Espinas) open looks but this is a series,” Trillo said.
Before they fell into a huge hole in the middle quarters, the Aces actually had a blistering start, establishing a 10-2 cushion after a Cyrus Baguio triple in the first three minutes of the game, before the Texters knotted the count at the end of the first quarter.
The Aces again put themselves in a position to win the game late in the fourth when they were able to cut the deficit to just three points, only to fall short.
For the third time in the best-of-seven series, the game was decided by five points or less. And that gives Trillo confidence.
“We have a chance. I believe in my guys, I really do. It shows in the games. It’s only the breaks (that decide the games) so it’s my job to keep them confident, come up with something adjustment-wise and make them come out and play.”