ANTIPOLO – TNT KaTropa coach Nash Racela stuck to positives as the Texters gave mighty San Miguel Beer a scare before surrendering a 98-94 decision in their PBA Philippine Cup matchup on Saturday night.
The Texters overhauled an eight-point deficit early in the fourth quarter behind Larry Fonacier, Jayson Castro, and Mo Tautuaa as they took a four-point lead within the last three minutes in a rally they just couldn’t complete.
“Siguro maganda lang is we gave ourselves a really good chance in the endgame,” Racela said. “Clearly, at least basing on the game today, we could go toe-to-toe with San Miguel, which is really good for us.
“Guys are slowly starting to understand their roles and the way we do things here, yung rotations and the way we use our players,” he added as his team finished the regular season with a 6-5 win-loss record.
[See Clutch Cabagnot lifts SMB past TNT]
The Texters even looked poised to snap SMB’s eight-game winning streak as Kelly Williams scored on a left-handed turnaround jumphook over June Mar Fajardo that would’ve given TNT a 96-94 lead with 43.2 seconds left had his shot not been nullified due to a questionable traveling call.
“I don't know (about the call),” Racela said. “That was actually a good move by Kelly against June Mar.
“But I think the really big difference in the game was we gave them twenty-seven free throws,” he was quick to add. “That's really crucial. We only had ten free throws the whole game so mahirap. If you look at the game stats, almost all departments were even with San Miguel except for the free throw attempts.”