Defensive play-A A +A
Saturday, October 19, 2013
MANILA—”Defense is the key.” This is what coaches Tim Cone and Gee Abanilla think as San Mig Coffee and Petron Blaze break a 2-2 tie in the 38th PBA Governors Cup finals series at the Araneta Coliseum today.
The Coffee Mixers bounced back strong by taking Game 4, 88-86, last Friday to reduce the long series to a best-of-three affair. Game time today is set at 4:45 p.m. with neither team enjoying psychological edge.
Even as they squandered a big 28-point lead in the second quarter, the Coffee Mixers survived the Blaze Boosters’ relentless stand courtesy of Mark Barroca, Peter June Simon and Alex Mallari, who combined for five from the free throw line to avenge a 90-68 loss in Game 3. Petron won Game 1, 100-84, but lost Game 2, 100-93.
“It was really hard to catch up with that big lead by San Mig. We will not allow it again. We will come out more prepared on Sunday,” said rookie coach Abanilla.
Cone, however, praised Petron for a strong comeback during Friday’s game, saying the Blaze Boosters are truly an explosive team.
“But winning by just one point or 30 points is just the same thing. We’ve got to keep playing forward. We are looking forward to Sunday’s game,” said Cone.
Two-time MVP James Yap and guard Mark Barroca vowed to lead San Mig Coffee with focus on defense.
“It was our defense that carried us through. That’s why we have a good start. But we have to be consistent to win the game,” said Yap. San Mig held Petron to only 13 points in the first quarter and only 29 in the first half.
The 6’10” Cebuano slotman June Mar Fajardo, who lost the “Rookie of the Year” plum to Calvin Abueva, continued to dominate the paint
by finishing with 20 points and a career-high 26 rebounds on Friday.
It was the highest rebounding power by a local in an import-laden conference since Arwind Santos had 27 in 2011.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 20, 2013.