STRETCHING the PBA Governors Cup semifinals series to a winner-take-all match is the least San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone wants to happen.
And so given the opportunity to get rid of Meralco, the Mixers vow to go all-out for the win.
“We certainly don’t want to go to a Game Five so we’re going all-out to win Game Four,” said Cone, whose team holds a 2-1 lead over the Bolts in the best-of-five series going to Sunday’s showdown at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“We have much respect for Meralco’s game to want to face them in a knockout game.”
The Mixers were also in the Finals of the season-ending tournament last year, but fell short in the end after losing to Rain or Shine in the deciding Game Seven.
But a win by San Mig in the 6:45 p.m. encounter would give the franchise a record 24th Finals appearance since joining the pro league in 1988.
Meanwhile other than fighting for survival, Meralco is likewise in a quandary as to the condition of import Mario West.
The Bolts lost West late in the third period of Game Three after a hard collision with San Mig big man Joe Devance, causing him to sprain his right shoulder and sat out the remaining minutes of the match, which they lost, 87-94.
As per advisory from the Meralco camp, West is a game-time decision.
“We are ready whatever the situation is. Mario underwent MRI procedure last night. Hopefully, he can play, though admittedly, it is hard to win without Mario,” said coach Ryan Gregorio.
The outspoken Meralco mentor complained the Bolts are not getting a fair treatment from game officials during the first three games of the series.
“In the elimination round, we were the best defensive team and we allowed the least number of free throws with only 16 allowed per game. But for some reasons, it is different against San Mig,”
explained the three-time champion coach.
“We’ve been whistled with 29.6 fouls per game while only 15.6 for San Mig. The free throw disparity is glaring. They (Mixers) have gone to the line 106 times or an average of 35.3 fouls per game, while we only went 56 times or an average of 18.6 per game,” he added.
Without West, the Bolts need to get all the needed offensive from veterans Macmac Cardona, Jared Dillinger, Reynel Hugnatan, John Wilson, and rookie forward Cliff Hodge, who averages 14.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in the series.