PETRON coach Gee Abanilla admitted he missed the presence of his “three best players” who fouled out one after the other down the stretch of the Boosters’ 93-100 loss to San Mig Coffee in Game Two of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals Sunday night.
Import Elijah Millsap went to the showers with still over three minutes remaining, while slotman June Mar Fajardo followed suit at the 1:21 mark before Arwind Santos ended up as a casualty after committing his sixth and last foul with less than a minute to go.
No player from Petron fouled out in Game One that resulted in a 100-84 rout by the Boosters.
“Fouling out the best three players in your team kind of damages how you play,” Abanilla said. “It just changes the complexion of our game.”
Despite the absence of their key players, the Boosters still threatened the Mixers as they cut the deficit to just three twice, the last at 93-96 on a Ronald Tubid turnaround three-pointer with nine seconds remaining.
Moving on, Abanilla said the defeat will only strengthen the Boosters’ resolve.
“The true test of character is not when you win games. It’s a matter of refocusing our efforts,” said the Petron coach. “And I’m just hoping we could adjust to the calls of the referees and we shouldn’t be affected by it.”
“Make no mistake, I’m not taking anything away from San Mig. They played well. We lost focus,” he was quick to add.
“But we’re still upbeat. I know we can recover in this situation.”