� Hog's Breath hopes to surprise NLEX in semis | Inquirer Sports

Hog’s Breath hopes to surprise NLEX in semis

By: - Reporter / @MarkGiongcoINQ
/ 12:29 AM February 05, 2014

Jansen Rios of Hogs Breath CAfe (dark) vs Abel Galliguez of Cagayan Valley (dark). PBA D-LEAGUE IMAGE by Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines—Hog ‘s Breath head coach Caloy Garcia sees no advantage going in his side when the Razorbacks clash with the NLEX Road Warriors in a best-of-three semifinals starting Tuesday.

But despite the odds, don’t expect Garcia to even think of waving the white flag as he hopes for an encore of a performance from his squad—the same kind of showing when it took down NLEX in their only meeting in the elimination round.

“It’s going to be difficult because matchup-wise, talent-wise, height-wise I think they have all the advantages going into the semis,” admitted Garcia after his team rallied from 18 points down to boot out Cagayan Valley and nail a Final Four slot Tuesday.

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“I don’t see us having any advantage against them because for me NLEX is practically the best team in the league. The only way you can beat them is when you have a good day on both offense and defense,” Garcia added.

And that’s what happened last Nov. 28 when the Razorbacks beat the Road Warriors, 83-78.

“We shot the ball pretty well against them. Our 3-point shooters connected, Sanga played one of his best games there and we were able to control Ola (Adeogun),” Garcia recalled, referring to NLEX’s Nigerian center.

Paul Sanga, the former Far Eastern University sniper, scored a game-high 21 points and had two big triples that torched NLEX while the six-foot-eight behemoth Ola Adeogun was held to just 11 points despite Hog’s Breath undersized frontline.

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With a slew of shooters, the Razorbacks are capable of getting hot at any given day while their physical interior game at times have managed to compensate for their lack of frontcourt size.

What worries Garcia though is that his team no longer has its lone legitimate center in Robert Bartolo in its lineup.

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“Now we’re a lot smaller because we no longer have Bartolo; first time we played them we had a  big guy with Bartolo there but if we can just stay with them until the last two minutes of the game I think we’ll have a chance and maybe we can pull a surprise.”

Whatever happens though, Garcia would be satisfied considering that his team has been able to surpass expectations with a semifinals appearance.

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“As long as we come out playing hard, win or lose I’m happy with my players because coming into this conference nobody even gave us a chance.”

TAGS: Basketball, Hogs Breath, PBA, Sports

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