SAN Miguel Beer tries to submit more than its B+ game this time as it seeks to put Barangay Ginebra on the brink of elimination in Game Four of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off a 95-87 loss in a Game Two where Gin Kings coach Tim Cone felt SMB put up a “B, B+” performance that was still enough for the powerhouse team to threaten in the end, the Beermen aim to bring back their A-game in their bid to take a 3-1 lead in their series.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in a game where the Beermen can either move on the verge of a fourth straight finals appearance or the Gin Kings will make the series more interesting.
“We cannot always play a perfect game. It happens,” SMB coach Leo Austria said. “I think it's a good wake-up call para sa amin. We need to work hard cause they have the momentum already. I hope na ma-realize ng team namin kung ano iyong kailangan nilang gawin.”
“Kita mo naman, medyo complacent nang kaunti because of that first two wins namin,” he added. “Sabi ko nga, Ginebra, they're playing with nothing to lose and everything to gain and alam nila na kapag natalo sila baon na baon na sila.”
The Beermen drew the usual numbers from their core guys, but they lacked bench production and definitely missed the presence of Chris Ross in the second half of Game Three due to a strained thigh, making him questionable in Game Four.
Despite the uncertainty, the Beermen remain formidable, so much so that Cone feels they have to put up even more than the “A++” game they displayed in Game Three.
“We know what we did in Game Three won’t be enough to win Game Four,” the league’s most successful coach said in a text message on the eve of the matchup. “We’ll have to continue to lift our level of our game if we hope to even the series.