THE 2022 PBA Philippine Cup champion will finally be determined on Sunday night in Game Seven at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
San Miguel is out to regain the crown after winning five straight times from 2015 to 2019, while TNT Tropang Giga is going for its second straight.
Gametime is at 6 p.m.
See CJ Perez hopes to sustain form as SMB goes for clincher
San Miguel held the top seed entering the playoffs with a 9-2 win-loss card, while TNT certainly doesn’t want to be on the losing end after nursing a 3-2 series lead before dropping a 114-96 decision in Game Six.
The Beermen hold momentum after that 18-point victory where it dropped 16 three-pointers, nine coming from the combined efforts of Marcio Lassiter and Simon Enciso, who had 22 and 20 points, respectively.
It's now or never for Leo Austria's Beermen and Chot Reyes' Tropang Giga.
“I hope they learned from (Game Six). Because Game Seven is different. No tomorrow na ‘yun eh. I hope ‘yung performance nila ma-sustain nila or a notch higher because I know that it will be difficult for everybody. Nobody wants to lose. Everybody wants to win. It’s all heart ang kailangan,” said San Miguel coach Leo Austria.
“Sana ‘yung suwerte namin, na-sustain sa Sunday,” he added.
The biggest question for TNT is whether Jayson Castro will play. Castro didn’t see action on Friday after suffering a sprained ankle in Game Five, and his presence will definitely boost the Tropang Giga's chances of capturing the crown.
Austria expects that TNT will be in full force in the do-or-die clash.
“It will be different whether na kumpleto sila o hindi whether kumpleto sila o hindi. They will have a lot of energy. I know na in the latter part of the fourth, nag-preserve na sila ng player. They are trying to avoid any untoward incident,” said Austria.
Castro vowed to do his best to play and be effective in Game Seven.
“Game Seven is Game Seven. Lahat ng players gusto laruan ['yan], di ba? Ita-try ko talaga best ko para makatulong sa team,” said Castro.
Roger Pogoy had 31 points in Game Six, but TNT, aside from Castro, noticeably missed the production of Mikey Williams, who could only come up with a career-low two points in the closed-out contest.
TNT is also expected to watch out for the production of June Mar Fajardo, who had a quiet Game Six where he had 10 points and 12 rebounds but had superb outings during rubber matches over the course of his career.
During their previous run of five championships, San Miguel played in three Game Sevens, and Austria is banking on that experience in such clutch situations even though some of the current players in the roster were not part of the Beermen at that time.
“It will help. Familiar kami sa ganung situation. It’s a do or die for everyone. Lagi ko sinasabi sa kanila, we trained for the last three months, this is it. Kailangan ilabas nyo yung A-Game niyo. This opportunity, we don’t know kung makakabalik pa dito.
“It’s a tough team to beat Talk ‘N Text. I’m sure they will have a different approach in Game Seven,” said Austria.