SAN Mig Coffee was exactly in this kind of situation a year ago when it lost the opener of its quarterfinal series to Meralco, only to win two in a row and eliminate the Bolts on its way to winning the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title.
Now in as much as coach Tim Cone wanted history to repeat itself, he was quick enough to remind himself and the rest of the Mixers not to look too far ahead.
“You know, I keep telling my guys if we think about what happened last year, then we’re going ahead of ourselves. But what’s just right in front of us, that’s what we got to take care of,” Cone said on the eve of the reigning champion’s winner-take-all match against the Bolts at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We don’t want to assume the same thing will happen like last year because once you start assuming, we’re looking too far ahead of ourselves.”
San Mig arranged the deciding game of the best-of-three series after beating Meralco in Sunday’s Game Two, 100-92, behind the 35 points, 14 rebounds, and three block shots of reigning Best Import Denzel Bowles.
Cone is hopeful his young import and the rest of the team would be able to duplicate the same intensity against the Bolts in their 6:45 p.m. showdown.
Meantime, Meralco counterpart Ryan Gregorio said despite the Game Two loss, he remains confident the Bolts could bounce back and put up a more consistent defensive effort against the Mixers.
“I think now, we are more in control of our emotions. We were a very, very young team then (last two times the Bolts faced the Mixers). We couldn’t handle the losses right way, but it’s been an uphill battle for us,” he said.
“Nobody really gave us a chance to finish at No. 5, but we made things happen. We want to stay out of foul trouble and get our defensive legs ready against them.”