TNT may be on the ropes against Phoenix Super LPG, but the Tropang Giga still have one big fight left in them.
TNT coach Bong Ravena believes all it would take is for his side following the gameplan to the end for their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series with the Fuel Masters to at least go the full distance.
“‘Yung kailangan lang namin one good execution sa dulo,” Ravena told Malaya-Business Insight on the eve of Game 4 today at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles City.
“One good execution lang kami, sa offense and defense,” reiterated Ravena. “Isang maganda lang on both ends.”
Ravena spoke two days after Phoenix escaped with a 92-89 win last Sunday to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and stand on the verge of realizing a first finals stint.
The game should be a fitting appetizer for the nightcap, where Ginebra aims to close out its own duel with Meralco.
Boasting of several national team players, TNT was the overwhelming favorite to at least get to the finals after opening up the bubble with five straight wins.
Instead, it is Phoenix, a second-time semifinalist since joining the league midway in the 2016 season, that is now in the enviable position after winning two straight games.
“All the pressure is on TNT, there’s absolutely no pressure on us. We’re out there just having fun,” Matthew Wright said after emerging as Phoenix’s main man in Game 3 with a game-high 25 points.
“We’re not even supposed to be here. I’m sure some of you guys didn’t expect us to be here, too, but we’re here.”
“We’re deeply humbled and blessed that we’re in this situation,” said Fuel Masters coach Topex Robinson moments after that victory, which came just two days after they carved out a 110-103 win in Game 2.
“The way we’re playing now, just like what Matthew said, it’s about inspiring others,” added Robinson.
“If we can go to the Finals, and inspire a lot of people, that’s where we’re headed. We’re gonna stay here as long as we could, because we know that as long as we’re doing our best winning will be the by-product of everything we’re doing.”
Robinson, however, added there is far from over. “We just want to be the better team from today. We could do better,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of mistakes along the way and ‘yun lang ‘yung focus namin. That’s the only thing we have control of, that we’re gonna make sure we’re not gonna commit the same mistakes as we did earlier.”
Robinson has good reason to remain wary.