WILL TNT KaTropa make it two in a row on Sunday? Or will San Miguel Beer bounce back and post a 2-1 lead?
An 87-85 TNT escape in Friday’s Game 2 made KaTropa look like they are ready for a protracted rumble.
Look, coach Nash Racela has quickly made adjustments to repair defects in their Game 1 defeat, most notably when Troy Rosario wasn’t given much importance; he was virtually a benchwarmer in the series opener.
But Racela responded in Friday’s Game 2, giving Rosario all the time to flex his muscles.
Like a Swat soldier dispatched for a special mission, the 6-foot-7 Rosario rose to the occasion bravely, firing successive shots to gun up TNT’s early assault.
When his mission was over, Rosario emerged top scorer as KaTropa leveled the series at 1-1 in the race-to four PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
Of course, Rosario wasn’t alone as Jason Castro, Mo Tautuua and Ranidel de Ocampo did their share in the TNT target to equalize.
TNT’s major shift in Game 2 was to run and gun, led as usual by Castro, voted back-to-back as Asia’s best point guard in the 2013 and 2015 FIBA Asia Championships.
This time, Castro had a double-barreled back-up from MGR and Roger Pogoy—the unheard of Pogoy being Racela’s surprise package. Pogoy could not only dash for layups but also shoot threes with Caidic-like ease.
Racela also ordered his boys to pound the paint at will, grabbing crucial rebounds—mostly offensive mind you—that produced crippling second-chance points.
In sum, SMB didn’t do enough to offset TNT’s resurgence, surprising even Bato.
The Beermen seemed very relaxed in the early goings. They just played along, the fire in their eyes in Game 1 almost absolutely missing.
When they finally tried to show their teeth that had made them back-to-back PBA Philippine Cup champs from 2015, it was too late the hero.
June Mar Fajardo, SMB’s man mountain, did his utmost—but even a giant couldn’t do it by his lonesome.
And why Arwind Santos could so comically commit two successive errors at a time when an SMB victory was a mere breath away was as mind-boggling as Trump beating Hillary in the US presidential polls.
A San Miguel win in Game 3 could mean the acting is over? For Arwind & Comedians, but not Fajardo?