WHILE several individuals have stepped up and led San Mig to victories in previous matches, coach Tim Cone expects the Mixers to fire on all cylinders as they try to land the killer blow against Talk N Text in Game Four of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals on Thursday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Main man James Yap and backcourt mate PJ Simon had gone hot and cold in the title series, import James Mays’ name had ended up deep in the middle of the scoresheets after topscoring for several games, and Mark Pingis and Mark Barroca have been quieter than usual.
Players such as rookie Justin Melton have grabbed the chance to shine in several occasions, but Cone is counting on everyone to play their roles well and get their act together as they try to finish off the Texters.
Gametime is at 8 p.m.
“When it comes down to it (crucial moment), in a big game like this (Game Three), we’re gonna rely on them,” said Cone, noting that Yap, Pingris and Simon will need to be at the forefront once more.
The Mixers took a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five championship series with a 77-75 escape act in Game Three, and Cone hopes to avoid another tight finish.
To do that, Pingris and Barroca will also have to come up with better numbers than their previous contributions of seven and two points, respectively.
Cone’s decision to pull Yap and Simon after a flat start in Game Two proved to be right, as the two came out stronger in Game Three. Now it will be interesting to see how the minutes are managed by the Mixers in Game Four as they go all out to try and finish the series.
“I just felt like after winning a couple of championships, we have a lot of trust and they trust me to make the right decision for them,” he added.
On the other hand, TNT coach Norman Black appealed once more to PBA officials for fair play and improve officiating.
“I just hope that game is governed well to give us a fair chance of winning,” said Black, whose team only had nine attempts from the foul line compared to San Mig’s 20 in Game Three.
“I just think that the contacts in the game of basketball should be called evenly on both ends. If they (referees) call a foul on one team, then, the same contact should be called on the other end. That’s just fairness of competitive sports and fairness in the game,” he added.
Jason Castro, who was named Best Player of the Conference before the start of Game Three, said he intends to get his teammates more involved in Game Four, especially after seeing Ryan Reyes, Larry Fonacier and Alapag finish a combined four points on Tuesday.