CAGE legend and San Mig team manager Alvin Patrimonio was grinning from ear to ear after the Mixers took Game Four, 93-90, for a commanding 3-1 lead in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup Finals against Rain or Shine.
But while the team is just a win away from capturing the franchise’s 11th league title, the 47-year-old four-time MVP warned the Mixers that a gritty team like the Elasto Painters is capable of getting back in the series.
“I think maraming times na sa (PBA) history na may nakakabalik ng 3-1 eh, so kailangan pa rin nandun yung focus ng team, lalo na kailangan pa yung double effort,” the 6-foot-3 Patrimonio said.
Patrimonio was already serving as manager when the team, then carrying the Purefoods brand, came charging back from a 1-3 deficit to defeat Alaska in a best-of-seven semifinals series.
Incidentally, Alaska was then being handled by Tim Cone, now the Mixers’ head coach.
But Patrimonio believes the current team will be able to prevent such a fatal collapse from happening, saying the Mixers have the advantage of being able to play consistently on both ends of the floor.
The Mixers won the last three games of the Finals after dropping Game One, 80-83.
“I think the way naka-recover ang team sa depensa, saka yung consistency, hindi nag-gi- give up yung team, saka lahat nakaka-contribute,” he said.
Patrimonio, a member of the 25 Greatest Players in league history, feels the combination of rookies and veterans in the team this season augurs well for the future of the franchise.
“Lumalabas na yung strength ng bawat isa. Iyung chemistry talagang two thumbs up,” added Patrimonio, who played for 17 seasons with the Purefoods franchise, before retiring in 2004.