Joshua Smith eager to bounce back as TNT import braces for rematch vs Finals tormentor SMB
Josh Smith is bracing for a tough matchup against Commissioner's Cup Finals tormentor San Miguel Beer. Marlo Cueto

BETTER to lose now than later.

Joshua Smith took in stride the 111-89 beating TnT Katropa suffered at the hands of Magnolia Pambansang Manok, stressing the loss is just a dent in the team’s bid for a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The burly import added the loss could have an adverse effect had it been in the playoffs. But this is just the elimination round yet, and the team remains in contention for a Top Two seeding heading into the quarterfinals with a 6-2 record.

“You never really want to lose, but it’s rather now than in the playoffs,” said Smith, who finished with a quiet 12 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in 31 minutes of play.

The TnT import also had limited touches behind a 4-of-6 shooting from the field in his first loss after three games with the Katropa as replacement for Jeremy Tyler.

“It’s a regular season game. We’re not playing them in the semis or the quarters. We just got to go to practice, lock in, and get ready for San Miguel team,” said Smith as he braces for a rematch with the Beermen on Saturday after the Katropa lost to them in the finals of this same tournament last season.

Smith admitted the Hotshots wanted it more than the Katropa on this night.

“We lost. You got to give credit to Magnolia, they play harder than us for 48 minutes. Today it just shows you that Magnolia was ready to play than we were,” said the former NBA player.

The TnT import said the Katropa can’t play the same way if they intend to make it back-to-back in the finals of the mid-season conference.

“We got to have the same mentality no matter who we play. Coach Nash (Racela) emphasized that the whole week. No matter if were playing Magnolia, no matter if were playing NLEX, no matter if were playing Meralco or San Miguel,” Smith stressed.

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“We have to play the same every game.”

After San Miguel, TnT will next face two teams that are above .500 in Meralco and league leader Rain or Shine.

Smith said TnT will just have to take things one game at a time.

“We still got three games until the playoffs, but we got to go back to square one. We got to play defense and we got to fix some things,” he added.   

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos