TNT Katropa juggles between resting and staying in shape as it prepares to lock horns with San Miguel Beer on Wednesday night in Game One of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Texters swept GlobalPort in two games in their best-of-three quarterfinal series, sparing themselves of the trouble of going through a do-or-die match after hacking out a a 95-90 victory on Monday night.
But the weary MVP flagship franchise is set to play its third game in five days, returning to the court just two days later for the opener of the best-of-seven Final Four series.
“Bawal na matulog kasi our next game will be on Wednesday,” TNT coach Nash Racela said in the post-game conference on Monday night. “We have a day to prepare against SMB.”
The Beermen had one extra day to prepare against the Texters as the team, owning a twice-to-beat incentive, dispatched Rain or Shine, 98-91, in their quarterfinal matchup last Sunday in Antipolo.
Aside from fatigue, the Texters are battling a mighty SMB side anchored by June Mar Fajardo and fellow Best Player of the Conference contenders Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot.
“They’re a powerhouse team,” Racela said. “We know that the focal point is June Mar, but the other guys are really playing well for them, so it will be a doubly tough series playing against them.”
“But I think what’s good about the series against Globalport is that guys are starting to play together and I think that gives us confidence going into the semifinals,” he added.
After all, young guns Troy Rosario, Mo Tautuaa, and Roger Pogoy have been repaying their coach’s faith and jelling well with old reliables Ranidel de Ocompo and Kelly Williams, who have all given superstar Jayson Castro significant support.