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Sports

Last dance or last chance

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Last dance or last chance
Jayson Castro
STAR / File

View for TNT, Magnolia

MANILA, Philippines — TNT sets out to pull off something that’s not been done in its PBA Philippine Cup semifinal showdown with San Miguel Beer yet win back-to-back games as it bids to seal its march into the championship round.

Armed with a 3-2 edge in the back-and-forth confrontation after Wednesday’s 110-90 triumph, the Tropang Giga seek to break the series’ trend today and finish off tough SMB once and for all.

“The only way we give ourselves a chance is by putting in excellent effort,” TNT coach Chot Reyes said ahead of their closeout attempt at 3 p.m. at the Don Honorio Ventura State U Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Reyes reminded his troops the last time they lacked exertion, powerhouse SMB blew them out, 116-90, to tie the series at 2-2.

“Kung i-a-outwork nila (SMB) kami, iyung nangyari nung Game 4 ang mangyayari talaga, tambakan,” said the multi-titled coach, who now has a full complement with Kelly Williams finally clearing health protocols and Poy Erram good to go despite nursing a fractured cheekbone.

“Alam natin sobrang lakas ng San Miguel, at sanay sila sa playoffs. Pero kahit malakas sila, alam namin may tsansa kami if we can make our shots at kung lagpasan namin ang effort nila,” said TNT ace guard Jayson Castro.

“We’re going to try to predict what their adjustment’s going to be (in Game 6). But in the end, it’s the players on the court just putting in extra effort, excellent effort to give us a chance to win,” Reyes said.

TNT is gunning for another appearance in the Last Dance after placing runner-up to Barangay Ginebra in 2020.

Meanwhile, Magnolia takes its second crack at a finals seat at 6 p.m. against a Meralco side determined to force a Game 7.

The Bolts stopped the Hotshots on their tracks two days ago, 102-98, to cut Magnolia’s lead to 3-2.

“I knew it’s going to be difficult. Magnolia’s going to be ready for us next game but we just have to do it one more time,” said Meralco mentor Norman Black.

“We have to take the same attitude again Friday night – this is do-or-die, there are no tomorrows for us.”

Black’s charges have been pretty much up to the challenge in win-or-go-home contests. They own an impressive 5-1 record since last year with their lone setback a result of a Scottie Thompsion buzzer-beating trey in Game 5 of the 2020 semis against the Gin Kings.

MAGNOLIA TNT
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