SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria is hardly concerned that Ricardo Ratliffe is controlling the boards, so long as his local Star teammates are contained offensively like in SMB’s 77-76 win in Game Two of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series.
Ratliffe pulled down a whopping 35 rebounds, the fourth most all-time in league history, and second most in the playoffs behind Michael Hackett, who grabbed 45 rebounds for Ginebra in a battle-for-third game in the 1985 third conference.
It was also the most since Jarrid Famous collected 37 rebounds in a game for GlobalPort in the 2015 Governors’ Cup.
As a team, the Hotshots outrebounded the Beermen in Game Two, 58-45.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, as long as hindi umi-score ang mga locals nila, it's okay,” Austria said. “So thirty-plus rebounds and we won by one point, that's okay for us.”
“But next time we should limit his rebounding as well as his scoring,” he added of Ratliffe, who contributed a game-high 25 points in 46 minutes.
What’s more important for the Beermen is continuing to put the clamps on the Hotshots’ locals, including Allein Maliksi who was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting after scattering 26 points in the series opener.
The Beermen also shackled Paul Lee, who could only contribute three points after missing all but one of his eight shots, including the potential game-winning floater, in 29 minutes as a starter.
“We were able to limit Allein Maliksi … and that is big for us, considering na we're trying to hold him down dahil alam namin na with his stint in Gilas, ang confidence niya ay napakataas,” Austria said. “Pinakita naman niya, and we're lucky kahit one point 'yan, talagang tatanggapin ko ng buong-buo.”