EVEN if faced with a hostile crowd, the Philippine Patriots will fight tooth and nail to secure the inaugural championship crown in the Asean Basketball League on Sunday.
Game time is set at 4 p.m. Sunday in BritAma Arena in Jakarta, Indonesia. This would determine whether it is a clincher for the Patriots or a new lease of life for the Indonesians.
Coach Louie Alas believes sweeping the series is not easy as what people and even other ABL coaches thought as a give-away match-up for the Philippines.
“Closing out the series is the toughest part in a championship. They (the Indonesians) will host Game 3 and I expect a hard game with the hostile crowd backing them up. But winning the crown on the road is sweet and we have to prepare more on the mental side so we can perform much better than this game,” said Alas.
Game 4, if necessary, is scheduled on Wednesday (February 24) also at the BritAma in the event sponsored by Thunderbird and Outlast.
Satria Muda coach Fictor Roring meanwhile is hopeful that lady luck will be on their side this time.
“I’m glad we’re going home because we play with more confidence at home. But we have to get better games from (Alex) Hartman and (Nakiea) Miller because I believe that they key to win the ABL title is the performance of the imports,” said Roring who now holds a 0-4 record against the Patriots this season.
On their second game at the Arena in San Juan City last February 18, the Patriots wasted no time to hold the cuffs on the Indonesians as American import Gabe Freeman and local Rob Wainwright delivered the shots for the league leaders.
Freeman tallied another sterling record of 23 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and a block while Wainwright chipped in 16 points, eight of which are posted beyond the arc.
Satria Muda tried to stage a rally but Freeman, Christian Coronel, Nonoy Baclao, and Jason Dixon joined hands to lead the Patriots’ strong finish.
The Indonesians moved to within six, 52-46, on Mario Wuysang’s second three-pointer early in the final period.
The win gave the Patriots a commanding 2-0 lead in the short best-of-five series and eleventh straight at home.
Roring blamed the rout on his imports as it was local Bonny Gunawan who surprised the Patriots with 15 markers, nine boards and two assists.
In Game 1, the Patriots bucked a third quarter rally of the pesky Indonesians to zoom past its rival, 78-68, at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City last February 12. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)