IN a duel between two relatively even teams, just one break may spell a big difference.
Lady Luck may just have smiled on Ginebra for it sure looks like TNT’s Bobby Ray Parks is sitting out Game 2 of their PBA Philippine Cup finals tonight at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.
The Kings are eyeing to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series and should have a better chance of hitting that immediate target since Parks is reportedly favoring a nagging left calf strain and will likely miss the game.
In a statement released last Monday, the Tropang Giga said the sophomore player is “highly-doubtful on Wednesday (but) hope he could play on Friday.”
TNT coach Bong Ravena confirmed the report by replying to a texted query: “Ray has a left calf strain and is highly doubtful on Wednesday.”
Parks suffered the injury even before the bubble tournament started but still put up MVP-worthy performances for the rest of the eliminations and early stages of the playoffs. He was visibly limping in the series opener last Sunday but still came up with 20 points, five steals, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks. The Tropa, however, dropped a 94-100 overtime decision.
The likely absence of the combo guard for at least Game 2 should be a huge concern for Ravena.
Led by Parks, TNT battled Ginebra on equal terms through most of Game 1 that featured 15 deadlocks and 21 lead changes. In the extra period, the Tropa went 1-of-6 from the floor to the Kings’ 4-of-8 clip.
Now Ravena wants to repay Ginebra in kind. That is, if his charges would take his oft-repeated words to heart.
“’Yung gameplan lang namin dapat masunod,” Ravena said. “May hindi nangyayari kaya ganyan ‘yung game. Stick to the gameplan, especially sa depensa. Kung ano gagawin namin, kung ano’ng rotation ba kailangan. Little things, like boxing out. ‘Yung mga maliliit na bagay di namin nagagawa. Wala namang kailangang baguhin talaga. ‘Yung maliliit na bagay lang.”
Ravena asserted that even without Parks, the Tropa still have other major weapons in their arsenal, led by Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy Poy Erram, Simon Enciso and Troy Rosario.
But his charges must also do their share in making stops.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about defense. Walang nang iba. Simula noon pa, sinasabi ko na nga, ang opensa hindi problema,” Ravena said.
“Ma-establish namin ‘yung depensa. Kunin lang namin, di puro opensa. Makaka-shoot din ang kalaban.”
If TNT does not practice what Ravena preaches, it may suffer the same fate it most recently had in last year’s Commissioner’s Cup when it won the first game of the finals against San Miguel Beer but ultimately bowed out in six games.
“We better be on our toes in Game 2,” stressed Ravena. “Otherwise, deja vu na naman ito. Sana matuto kami sa game na ito and hopefully it will be a different game (in Game 2).”