TNT KaTropa import Glen Rice Jr. urged his teammates to play at a high level for 48 minutes after losing to Rain or Shine in the PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals opener on Wednesday.
TnT imposed its might only in the final minutes as it staged an 18-2 run behind Rice after being down by 20 points, 102-82.
But the Elasto Painters proved steadier down the stretch and hung tough for a 106-102 victory at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"It's a good effort for us in the endgame but that's not how we win games," said Rice.
"We need to play hard. The good thing about this is we showed that we can beat them if we play like that for the whole game," he added. "But it's gonna be hard for the team if we play like that only for a quarter or half a quarter."
Rice added they also need to put premium on defense after allowing the Elasto Painters to drain 16 three-pointers.
"As I said earlier, we gotta play hard the whole game. They shot well today," he said.
Still, Rice remains optimistic his team will through when both squads face off anew on Friday.
"We're still in the same position that we we're in today. We gotta win one game. I think we're fine. Coaches have to adjust a little bit but I think we're fine," he said.