AFTER a smashing Game Three victory that put them 2-1 up, the Petron Blaze Boosters try to extend the gap when they collide with the San Mig Coffee Mixers in Game Four of their PBA Governors' Cup Finals series on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Boosters are fresh from a 90-68 shellacking of the Mixers, the first lopsided result in the best-of-seven championship series, which Petron coach Gee Abanilla attributed to the team’s commitment to playing strong defense.
“We were prepared. They (Boosters) played hard defensively and we held them (Mixers) down to 68 points. Simple adjustments lang ginawa namin like technical things on the defensive end, how we react to the way they play on offense,” Abanilla said.
The game starts at 8 p.m.
Starting playmaker Alex Cabagnot remains doubtful for Game Four due to a torn tissue in the bottom of his right foot. Also sidelined like the southpaw Cabagnot is backup point guard Chico Lanete (hamstring).
But their absence hardly affected the Boosters with import Elijah Millsap doing a splendid job playing the team’s point guard, setting up his teammates, particularly 6-foot-10 rookie June Mar Fajardo who muscled his way inside for 19 points on nine-of-11 shooting from the field.
Abanilla also drew quality performances from reserve point guards Paolo Hubalde and Dennis Miranda, who scored nine and six points, respectively, while making life miserable for San Mig playmakers Mark Barroca and Alex Mallari.
San Mig coach Tim Cone took the blame for the team’s humiliating 22-point loss, saying he and his coaching staff failed to prepare the Mixers mentally.
“If we come in with just 50 percent focus and concentration, this (blowout loss) is going to be the result. When the team plays this badly, it’s not about the players, it’s about coaching. And we just didn’t prepare our guys to come out and play, that’s on us, we’ll accept that, we’ll move on and focus on the next one,” said Cone, whose team shot just 38.3 percent from the field in Game Three.
San Mig import Marqus Blakely said they will have to come out with a lot more intensity in Game Four considering the talent and strong chemistry Petron has this conference.
“They (Boosters) scored 90 points while our lead average is just 83. Then, we scored 63 points. That tells you we’re not executing our offense and making our shots. Our defense was our core, but we made lapses here and there,” noted the 6’4” Blakely, who was named this Best Import of the conference.