ACCORDING to veteran guard Jimmy Alapag, the first step in Talk 'N Text's comeback from a 0-2 deficit in the PBA Governors Cup semifinals begins in practice on Sunday.
"It will be the most important practice of the year," said Alapag.
In that gym far away from the eyes of the public, Alapag expects Talk 'N Text to find answers to a San Mig defense that has made battle-scarred Texters look like bumbling rookies, and a Mixers offense that keeps finding holes in Talk 'N Text's defense.
But more than anything else, it will be in that practice that Talk 'N Text players will have to convince themselves that a comeback from 0-2 down in a best-of-five playoff is possible - no matter the odds.
Only three teams in the league's 39-year history ever came back from such a deficit to win a series - and none of them are named Talk 'N Text, which, in fact, found itself at the wrong end of one such comeback when Ginebra battled back from 0-2 down in their 2010 Philippine Cup quarterfinal series.
But if there's a team that can do it, Alapag said it is the Texters.
"I think with our team, we've been in this position before and I have complete trust in the guys in the locker room," Alapag, the last person to leave the dugout after the Texters' 85-93 loss to the grand slam-seeking Mixers on Saturday night.
"But before you get three (wins), you got to get the first one."
If Talk 'N Text is to complete an epic comeback, the Gilas mainstay said the team can't afford to have another bad first quarter like the one it had on Saturday - or the defensive lapse that enabled San Mig to stay alive in regulation on the way to a 92-88 OT victory in Game One.
"I think on Game One we just had it, we were in control of the game (but) we gave them the opportunity and then they take advantage of it, that's why I give them credit," said the one-time league MVP.
"Tonight I thought we'll make it (an) even (series) but we really had a bad first quarter," added Alapag referring to their woeful opening stand that allowed San Mig to race to a 32-13 lead.
"Then again, when you're playing a champion team, you just can't afford to make that mistake or slow starts. It's gonna be important for us on Monday to have a strong start and play a full 48-minute game."
But at this point, all TnT can focus on is Game Three, Alapag added.
"Truly, our focus right now is to get focused on Monday night to try to play a great game and get back in the series," he said.