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    Austria stays confident after 'winnable' Game Two for SMB in loss to TNT

    Apr 9, 2019
    PHOTO: jerome ascaño

    SAN Miguel’s defense failed to slow down TnT Katropa this time as the defending champion suddenly found themselves on the ropes in their bid to retain the PBA Philippine Cup title.

    The Beermen lost Game 2 of their quarterfinals series against the Katropa, 93-88, on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum that push their best-of-three affair into a winner-take-all showdown.

    And for the reigning champion to keep its title-retention alive, the team needs to adjust on the defensive end, according to coach Leo Austria.

    “We have to play better defense because the last time, we were able to give up only 78 points or 15 points more than our last game,” he said.

    The Beermen won the series opener, 80-78, as they rallied back down the stretch behind the heroics of big man June Mar Fajardo.

    This time, Fajardo just couldn’t replicate the same feat despite finishing with 26 points and 19 rebounds on 9-of-11 shooting from the field.

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    “The name of the game is how you can play good defense. It’s not only offense because we’re no. 1 in offense in terms of percentage. Today we have to play defense for us to win the game,” said Austria.

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      San Miguel’s woes was further compounded by its poor shooting from the field. In particular, the Beermen were held to just 16.7 percent shooting from the three-point range.

      “Problem is our perimeter shooting, napakababa ng percentage namin,” he said.

      If there’s any consolation Austria can take, it’s the thought the reigning champions were again able to keep the game close in the home stretch and gave themselves a chance of winning it.

      “We had a chance to win tonight. Winnable naman yung game namin,” he said.

      “But we committed some turnovers and some lapses. And our shooting percentage from the three-point area ay masyadong mababa ang nagtake-advantage sila doon,” said Austria.

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      The deciding Game 3 of the series is set on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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      PHOTO: jerome ascaño
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