San Miguel, TNT hoping for balanced effort, draw 'bunot' to wrest control in pivotal Game Five
SMB and TNT look to wrest control in a pivotal Game 5 in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals. Jaime Campos

SAN Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria seeks for more contribution from his bench in the hopes of breaking their tie with TNT KaTropa in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals in Game Five on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Austria didn’t mind that newly minted Best Player of the Conference Chris Ross was held to just eight points, four assists, and two steals in almost 39 minutes in their 102-97 loss in Game Four after coming into Wednesday averaging 15.9 points, 9.1 assists, and 3.9 steals in the first eight games of the playoffs.

The SMB coach instead pointed to the production of their second unit after the Texters’ bench outscored theirs, 32-22.

“The problem is yung back-up namin eh, yung support player namin, they were not able to help a lot eh,” Austria said, despite the fact that Arwind Santos was the only player outside the starting unit the SMB coach used extensively. “That is because our big men got into foul trouble.”

Alex Cabagnot, who led all locals in scoring with 22 points, expects Austria to continue to dig deep from his bench to give the Texters a different look at this crucial juncture of the series.

“Dun talaga yung nagpapakita kung sino yung mga hugot na ganun, and what you could pretty much show individually as a player,” Cabagnot said, then expounding on the chess match between both squads. “Syempre yung depensa nila sa’yo iba, tapos the next game iba ulit, and hopefully you could kind of sway it in your favor by making them go play you this way, pero meron ka ng counter sa ganun.”

TNT coach Nash Racela also underlined the importance of having a balanced effort that the Texters saw in Game Four where Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario bounced back from scoreless outings.

“Against a team like San Miguel who’s a very, very strong team, you need everybody to contribute,” Racela said. “We can’t really win it with one.”

“I don’t really require them to play an excellent ballgame, but at least let’s be decent tapos contribute lang tayo,” he added. “(In Game Four), there was a turnaround. I think Jayson (Castro) was more aggressive, was looking for his shots, Roger finally hit his three-pointers. It was a collective thing, everybody really pitching in.”

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