Despite falling behind 0-2 in the finals against Talk N Text, the Powerade Tigers remain confident that they will be able to turn things around in today’s Game 3 in the best-of-seven final showdown of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After taking a 102-96 decision, Monday, the Texters padded their series lead to a commanding 2-0.
But even TnT coach Chot Reyes maintains that's still a long way off from them becoming the first team in 27 years to repeat as champion of the tourney formerly known as the All-Filipino.
"We've seen this so many times," said the man who has been coaching since 1990. "We still need to get two more. All we've done is take another step towards our ultimate objective."
That explains why the five-time Coach of the Year awardee wants his charges to remain sharp and be keenly aware of what to expect from Powerade.
"We can't relax, we can't take our foot off the pedal at all," We have to make sure we're gonna be ready for Powerade's mightiest fightback in Game 3."
That is precisely what the Tigers intend to do, at least according to Perasol.
"I'm quite sure and positive we're going to be better," he said.
What gives Powerade additional hope is the fact the Game 2 loss was a far cry from the 100-116 shellacking it received in the series opener last Friday in Digos City.
The Tigers waged a fierce battle and even moved to within 93-94, only to have their efforts go down the drain in the face of clutch baskets by Larry Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag and Ryan Reyes inside the last two minutes of play.
Fonacier saved a basket from a broken play, Alapag fired a trey, then Reyes translated his own steal into a breakaway layup as the Texters erected a 101-93 cushion entering the final minute of the game.
The loss also spoiled the finals debut of Powerade playmaker Jayvee Casio, who missed the opener to
rest a strained right hamstring. Despite the limited mobility, he still wound up with 17 points.
Marcio Lassiter had 15 points and Doug Kramer wound up with 14 and 10 rebounds for his conference-most 17th double-double.
Sean Anthony, who carried most of Powerade's scoring load in Game 1 with 23 points, got a bloodied right eyebrow from an elbow by Ranidel de Ocampo just 35 seconds into the fourth period. He got the cut taped and returned, but was not fielded back in.
For his part, De Ocampo was slapped a flagrant foul-Penalty 1 and has been summoned to appear before PBA commissioner Chito Salud today.
Reyes said the incident just goes to to show how tough the duel is.*pba.com
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