TNT KaTropa braces for an expected comeback by Barangay Ginebra as the Texters aim to close out their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series in Game Three on Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Texters frustrated the Gin Kings, 107-103, on Tuesday night for their second straight win the best-of-five series that pushed their top-seeded opponents on the brink of elimination.
But TNT coach Nash Racela stressed that the Gin Kings don’t have a never-say-die reputation for nothing.
“Knowing the character of this team, they never give up, so if there’s one team that could really come back, it’s them,” Racela said after the Game Two win. “That’s why we need to guard against complacency and we really need to double our focus.”
The Gin Kings have done the improbable feat in the recent past. According to chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, Ginebra is the only one of 34 teams since 1993 that have trailed 0-2 in a best-of-five series yet still went on to win the matchup, doing the monumental feat in the 2010 Philippine Cup quarterfinals against – you guessed it – Talk ‘N Text.
The Texters squandered a two-zero lead as they lost the next three games, including Game Four where they walked out of the court and decided not to continue playing due to questionable officiating following a flagrant foul 2 call on Ranidel de Ocampo.
“We’ve been victims 'yung ganyang playoffs eh,” Racela said.
Now, the Texters are hoping history won’t repeat itself as they try to finish off the Gin Kings in their first of three tries on Thursday night in their anticipated encounter that tips off at 7 p.m.
Racela is dead focused on the task at hand.
“All you could think about is the next game, how to prepare for the next game, again anticipate what the coaches of Ginebra could do,” the rookie PBA head coach said. “You can’t really think behind the game.
“Hopefully I get to talk to you again in the press room,” he added with a grin, referring to the customary post-game conference for winning coaches.