SAN Miguel Beer not used to being ahead early in the game?
That seemed true when the Beermen raced to double-digit margins before pocketing a 15-point, 33-18 lead after the first quarter in Friday’s Game Three.
Thus, after yielding a five-point, 55-50 deficit at the half, the Beermen went downhill virtually the rest of the way—first allowing TNT to tab an 86-78 third quarter bubble before bowing out, 115-105, to stare at a 2-1 deficit in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
When trailing in crucial games not too long ago, San Miguel rallied hellishly, erasing margins of as much as 29 points to get to the best-of-seven playoffs.
But there was none of that bravado on Friday, the Beermen getting transformed into unschooled pretenders from championship savvy warriors.
They became open targets of sniper fire at will.
They didn’t handcuff the usual suspects shooting from afar.
They had nothing but a platform anchored on disarray.
Why were KaTropa Don Trollano, Troy Rosario and, yes, Terrence Jones given ocean-wide space to aim threes in succession?
Why was there no serious effort to stay close, stick, to sure scorers, relentlessly relying on the zone when enemy howitzers were clearly bombing at the gates?
And, yes, why was Jones literally allowed to milk the clock right after crossing the timeline almost the entire fourth quarter?
Wasn’t that a clear joy for Jones—and the entire KaTropa as well?
I had been a coach a thousand times over and, modesty aside, I’ve been told that it’s a no-no in coaching to leave, just watch, a foe unguarded while he does his thing with the ball.
Jones had probably done that a million times in Game Three—in a manner of speaking—just dribbling by his lonesome, that I’ve lost count. Sorry.
It was a comedy.
But it was not funny.
It was murder at the beer garden and Jones got away with it.
The KaTropa must still be in stitches relishing over it.
Credit that ploy to Mark Dickel, TNT’s active consultant?
SMB Coach Leo Austria was caught napping. If he doesn’t wake up on Sunday, a 3-1 KaTropa lead could be in the offing.