IT’S not exactly the ending TnT Katropa was expecting, but it’s not about to take away where credit is due.
Coach Bong Ravena admitted being caught by surprise by San Miguel’s strong start from the Katropa never recovered to lose their do-or-die encounter badly, 96-86, for a berth in the PBA Philipppine Cup semifinals Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Katropa were outscored by the reigning four-time champions, 15-3, in the first seven minutes of Game 3 of their best-of-three quarterfinals to take control for good, 19-5.
The strong start by the Beermen were in stark contrast to the first two games of the series when the Katropa dominated the early goings.
“Obviously they were tougher than we thought. They came out really, really strong. They were ready,” said Ravena.
“Kumbaga nabulaga kami. Doon pa lang sa start ng game makikita mo na.”
In contrast to the Beermen who came out with a sense of urgency in their bid to keep their ambitious bid to win a fifth straight All-Filipino championship, the Katropa came out flat from the get-go.
“Kulang na kulang for me,” said Ravena. “They (Beermen) just played their hearts out really hard from the start of the game. Akala namin (mag slow down) but sila nauna. Hindi namin ini-expect.”
The Katropa also struggled from the floor, converting just 36 percent of their shots (32-of-88).
As a team, Ravena said San Miguel also has the advantage as far as winner-take-all experience is concerned.
“They’ve been there, they played in so many series. Kami ngayon lang. Experience-wise lamang talaga yung kalaban,” he stressed.
If there’s any consolation, the TnT mentor said the blowout loss was a good learning experience for the franchise.
“Ganun talaga, para ka matuto, kailangan ma-experience yung ganun,” he said. “Basta kami learn from that para next time we’ll be ready.