Backs against the wall

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2020 - 12:00am

TNT, Meralco face 1-2 deficits

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY, Pampanga, Philippines — Defiant TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco Bolts are bent on thwarting the prospective Phoenix Super LPG-Barangay Ginebra title showdown and squeezing themselves back in the mix in the PBA Philippine Cup derby.

The Tropang Giga are fighting for their lives after dropping an 89-92 loss to the Fuel Masters in Sunday’s Game Three, which put their semis rivals on the hill in the short best-of-five affair.

The Bolts are on the same boat as TNT, facing a 1-2 deficit after absorbing an 84-91 setback to the Gin Kings in the tie-breaking third match.

“Going to Game 4, no choice na kami kundi lumaban (We’ll fight hard),” TNT coach Bong Ravena told The STAR yesterday.

The Tropang Giga mentor listed four major concerns his charges need to address in tomorrow’s must-win Game Four if they want to rekindle their bid to reach the best-of-seven finals.

“Kailangan mabawasan namin ang turnovers (Limit our errors), we have to make our freethrows, hit our three’s at diin sa depensa (play harder on defense),” Ravena said.

In Game 3, TNT committed 21 turnovers, which Phoenix converted into 23 points.

The usually efficient Tropang Giga shot bricks from the stripe (15-of-24, 62.5 percent) with veteran Jayson Castro making only five of his 11 attempts (45.5 percent), and connected on only 14 out of 39 three-point tries (35.9 percent).

Phoenix, which is on the verge of its first championship stint, braces for a tough fightback from TNT.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone expects the same from Meralco.

“It’s going to be really hard to close them out,” said Cone. “They got a great coach over there who’s also been through these kinds of wars and they got a young, hungry core that’s listening to him.”

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