MANILA, Philippines—After playing grand slam spoiler last August, Petron Blaze again goes for the jugular of Talk ‘N Text Friday, this time in the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
With a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven semifinal series, the Boosters take the first of their three chances at 7:30 p.m. to reach the finals at the expense of the same Tropang Texters that they deprived of a rare three-conference sweep last season by nipping them in the Governors’ Cup last August.
“The tendency is to relax after going 3-1 so we’re going to work on maintaining the proper mind-set,” said Petron coach Ato Agustin, who prevailed over his TNT counterpart, Chot Reyes, in seven games in the Governors’ Cup.
But Agustin is confident of pulling through as he paid tribute to the Boosters’ sheer desire and intensity in pulling out an 85-82 Game 4 win Wednesday.
“We came out with more energy and matched their intensity,” noted Agustin, whose boys have won three straight after losing the opener to the Texters.
Powerade and Rain Or Shine earlier break the second tie in their own semifinal series when they collide at 5:15 p.m.
The Elasto Painters will try to build on the confidence they gained in a 110-95 win over the Tigers in Game 4.
Agustin said the Texters “did something different that we haven’t seen before in the series in Game 4,” adding they have “to watch the video and make adjustments” for Game 5.
The Boosters escaped only when Danny Ildefonso came up with a decisive three-pointer with 55.7 seconds left that eventually doomed the Tropang Texters.
“I can feel that this series is already ours and we’re not going to let it slip away,” said the 35-year-old Ildefonso, a two-time MVP who had a 22-point, eight-rebound performance in Game 4.
But for Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes, the series is still far from over.
“We lost three games by a combined seven points. Tonight, we’re just one shot away from reversing the outcome and that gives us hope going into Game 5,” said Reyes, who is looking to dig themselves out of a hole only two teams in league history had overcome.
Barangay Ginebra came back charging from a 3-1 deficit to steal the 1991 Open Conference crown from Formula Shell while Purefoods replicated the trick against Alaska in the 2006 Philippine Cup semifinals.