TIM Cone insisted San Mig is not looking beyond Game Four of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on Monday against Air21 Express at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Talks of a showdown between multi-titled teams San Mig and Talk 'N Text - and a sidelines duel pitting grand slam coaches Cone and Norman Black - have grown since the Mixers took Game Three on Saturday, 84-73, to take a 2-1 lead against Air21 in their Final Four playoffs.
Cone, however, said the Mixers are not even thinking about the unbeaten Texters at this point as they completely focus on the Express, who showed they are capable of surprises after ousting second seed San Miguel Beer in the quarterfinals and taking Game One from San Mig, 103-100.
“You don’t want to get beyond what you’re doing. But just get focused on Game Four," said Cone, who is looking to lead San Mig to a third successive appearance in a league finals. "Put this one away, and hopefully, it will come.”
With Air21’s energy player Sean Anthony out with an injury, the Mixers went full throttle and whipped the Express in the rebounding department, 54-26, in Game Three.
Import James Mays collared a conference-best 32 rebounds, providing the strength in the paint.
Anthony remains a game-time decision due to an Achilles tendon strain he has been nursing since the quarterfinal series against San Miguel Beer.
Meantime, Air21 man-mountain center Asi Taulava said the Express will have to find ways to control the boards and ensure that Mays’ 32-rebound-effort won’t happen again.
“We got to do a better job boxing him (Mays) out and keep a body on him all the time. Mays and (Richard) Howell are two of the best rebounding imports I’ve ever seen,” said Taulava, who averages 18.6 points and 11.6 rebounds in the best-of-five semifinal series.