NORMAN Black himself is displeased at how officiating has gone so far in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, but he has reminded his Talk `N Text Tropang Texters to just keep their focus on the goal of defending their All-Filipino title.
With that in mind, the reigning champions are resolved at taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series as Game 4 is scheduled Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I think the team that can keep focus will win (the series)...Because the referees are already there, they are part of the game. While you may not be happy, we just need to keep focused,” said Black after Talk `N Text grabbed a 2-1 lead over Alaska Wednesday night.
Game 3 was marred by several tough and physical plays, but the Tropang Texters managed to show laser-like focus in pulling off a 93-79 win.
Jayson Castro, one of Talk ‘N Text’s top guns, remains a doubtful starter in the 6:45 p.m. encounter after being hit hard on the face by a Cyrus Baguio forearm midway in the fourth period of Game 3.
He left the game for good after splitting his charities, finishing with just six points on one-of-five shooting. The heady guard was later taken at the Makati Medical Center for a CT scan and other tests, though results revealed no serious injury.
Black said he has accepted the fact the series will be characterized by physical plays though executing their game plan remains the team’s primary thrust.
“One thing we’ve seen so far in this series is that both teams will not back down. I see this series to continue to be physical in Game 4. But hopefully, we’ll stay focused and concentrate on basketball,” he added.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, on the other hand, told the Aces that they will have to double their effort on defense, rebounding, and executing the plays in order to prevent Talk ‘N Text from getting a firm grip of the series.
“They (Tropang Texters) are doubling Sonny (Thoss). They are getting us out of our flow. They are dictating... We’ll try to answer by outscoring them, but you also have to out hustle and defend them. This is the All-Filipino champion so you need to play tougher, stronger and harder,” said Trillo.
Alaska managed to keep Jimmy Alapag in check on offense as the pint-sized Talk N Text playmaker only scored four points in Game 3, though he had a series-high 11 assists and two steals.
“Jimmy (had )11 assists...for playing good defense? How can you give 11 assists? So partially, it’s our fault,” he added.