ANTHONY Semerad’s primary role for TNT is to put a body on prolific Ginebra import Justin Brownlee.
He did just that and so much more as he drained one three pointer after another in the crucial stretches of the KaTropa’s 107-103 win over Ginebra for a 2-0 lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals.
Semerad was relegated to being a role player in the PBA, but the former San Beda star and NCAA Finals MVP's bread and butter back in college was his ability to hit the three-point shot.
He reminded fans of that when he drained four three-pointers in the final five minutes of Game Two.
His fourth and final three with 53 seconds left turned out to be the go-ahead basket, 105-103, before their defense – and Smith’s late putback – sealed the deal for good.
“I just wanted to stay focused. I took a couple of shots in the first quarter and I missed those. I wanted to stay focused on defense and watch my fouls, but the ball came to me and I hit my shots,” said Semerad, who finished with 14 points on 5-10 shooting while making life hard once more for Brownlee.
“If we have an open shot, if it’s a good shot and it’s within the system, we just take it. So yeah,” he added.
TNT head coach Nash Racela wasn’t surprised at all with Semerad’s explosion, granted that he has seen how hard the Fil-Australian forward works on his craft everyday.
“Tony spends so much time shooting the ball even after practice. He spends an extra hour, every day working with the other guys. That’s why he’s able to make those shots,” Racela said.
The youthful head coach also knew what exactly what they’re getting when they traded for the 26-year-old banger late in the elimination round from GlobalPort.
Now, things are beginning to pay off.
“That’s the reason why we got him (Semerad). Number one is to be a defensive player, a tough physical player but at the same time we know that he’s a floor spacer,” Racela said.
“With the way Ginebra has been defending, those are the shots that we will have, as long as we’re ready to take those, we’d have a really good chance of winning.”
Given the chance, Semerad won’t hesitate to take those shots again come Game Three. But he is also aware that he earns his minutes on the floor by doing good job of putting a body on Brownlee.
“If I can do it again why not? I’ll come back in, confident. If it’s open I’m gonna take it,” Semerad said. “I just have to be careful with my fouls. I need to come in the next game a little more smarter and I have to be really careful.”