TNT Katropa coach Nash Racela is left to dig deeper after seeing San Miguel Beer score from all angles in Game One of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series on Wednesday night.
The Texters tried to pick their poison in the series opener as the Beermen, led by Marcio Lassiter, caught fire from long range early, knocking down 12 of their 16 three-point attempts in the first half.
But when TNT tried to close down SMB's gunners, big man June Mar Fajardo went to work down low in the second half where the three-time reigning MVP scored 15 of his 21 points.
The result was a 111-98 victory by the Beermen that extended the team's win run to 11 games - and left Racela and TNT searching for answers if they want to keep this best-of-seven series close.
“They came out firing on all cylinders,” Racela said. “Mahirap because you have to focus on June Mar and then guys start to make their three-pointers, so medyo mahirap para sa amin.”
Racela, though, finds solace in the thought that TNT stayed in range of the Beermen despite what he described as defensive lapses.
“I think we just want to focus on the positives,” he said. “We made a lot of breakdowns defensively. We made a lot of mistakes, but yet nandoon lang naman kami sa game. We were down ten, twelve points. We just couldn’t get over that hump.
“Give credit to San Miguel because they really are a talented team,” he added.
So who should the Texters put more focus on the Beermen: their plethora of shooters or Fajardo?
Racela has no answers at this point.
“Mahirap piliin kung sinong babantayan mo, but we’ll find a way,” Racela said. “I know it’s gonna be a long series so if one thing does not work then you look at another one. And hopefully you find the right scheme that would make stops.”