EVERYTHING hinges on defense.
That’s what coach Bong Ravena keeps stressing as TNT guns for an imposing 2-0 lead over Meralco tonight in their PBA Governors Cup semifinals duel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The KaTropa are gunning for a fitting follow-up to their 103-94 victory at the start of the best-of-five series last Sunday and they would realize that if they duplicate their performance in the opener.
“Kailangan maging consistent kami, lalo na sa depensa,” emphasized Ravena.
TNT veteran Jayson Castro wholeheartedly agreed with his coach. “Lahat kami naka focus talaga on defense,” he said, adding they really worked on making stops during the respite the league took to give way to the SEA Games.
“Iyung buong break namin iyon lang ang pinraktis namin, kung paano sila ma-i-stop. So hopefully magtuloy-tuloy, hindi mawala defense namin,” added Castro.
But the Bolts are sure to make their adjustments, as promised by coach Norman Black.
“We don’t want to go down two games to nothing because that’s almost impossible to come back from,” said Black. “So the whole focus going to the next game will be on trying to tie up this series.”
Black has pinpointed what chiefly went wrong with his team in Game 1.
“It was really uncharacteristic for us to not play as a team,” said Black, pointing out his team’s 12 assists against 24 turnovers.
“I felt we were too one-dimensional in the fact that some guys were dribbling too much, trying to get their shots off. That’s why this is probably our worst output as far as assists are in this conference and probably our highest turnovers total,” added Black.
“So we’d just go back to the drawing board understanding that if you want to win at this level, if you want to win against a team like TNT, you have to play as a team. You’re not going to get it done individually.”
Meralco offering a much tougher stance is what TNT is bracing for.
“Alam namin magiging aggressive sila so kailangan lang naming maging smart kung paano sila i-i-stop,” said Castro. “Offense naman lahat kayang mag-contribute sa amin.”