TALK 'N Text coach Norman Black is confident the Tropang Texters can handle the best Rain or Shine could offer when they collide in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The defending champions have won the first two games of the best-of-seven title series, giving them a shot at a commanding 3-0 lead in their 6 p.m. encounter.
Black said experience has been Talk 'N Text’s greatest advantage in the title showdown. And obviously his band of veterans have rose in both occasions.
Game One saw Larry Fonacier and Jason Castro, who both run away with the Finals MVP honor in the team’s two previous All-Filipino championship series, knocked down key baskets in the endgame to lead the Tropang Texters to an 87-81 win.
Then in Game Two, it was Ranidel de Ocampo’s turn to shine.
Using his 6-foot-5 frame down low and some crucial three-point shooting, the former St. Francis of Assissi standout finished the game with 24 points and nine boards to lead Talk 'N Text to an 89-81 win.
“(It’s our) experience… there’s no question about that. It’s a lot easier when you’re there. You just know how to handle it better. You don’t panic when you’re there even when they made a run. But we gathered ourselves and regrouped. A championship (experience) helps a lot,” Black said after his team moved within two victories of becoming the first team in more than two decades to win the All-Filipino conference three straight seasons.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao, however, is not giving up.
“We’re not losing any hope. 0-2 is still manageable. I think we need to get back and win it on Sunday. Otherwise, it’s almost lights out for us,” said the fiery Rain or Shine mentor.
“It’s important for us to get back on Sunday. We’re not going to give up the series just like that. We need to make some adjustments, just minor adjustments,” he added.
And field goal shooting is definitely one of those adjustments the Elasto Painters has to make.
Rain or Shine shot just 35 percent (55-of-157) during the first two games of the series even as the team’s top two gunners in Jeff Chan and Paul Lee made just a combined 14-of-49 from the field.
Twenty-five of 32 teams that won the first two games of the Finals went on to win the title and definitely, Rain or Shine will have its hands full in trying to overcome the odds.