TNT ties series | Inquirer Sports
PBA

TNT ties series

Castro shines as Texters end Beermen’s run and set up huge Game 3
By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 12:42 AM February 11, 2017

TNT KaTropa did what everyone has been unsuccessful at for more than two months now— bring down mighty San Miguel Beer.

And the Texters have reinforced their belief that they are capable of beating this team.

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With timely hits and great stops on the other end in the endgame on Friday night, the Texters snapped the Beermen’s 11-game winning streak and leveled their best-of-seven Final Four series in the PBA Philippine Cup after two games with an 87-85 nipping at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

San Miguel played with so much control in a 111-98 series opening win on Wednesday night that the Beermen were overwhelming picks to dominate the Texters yet again.

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“Last game, I just told them (Texters) to find a way (to beat the Beermen),” TNT coach Nash Racela said after dealing two-time defending champion San Miguel its first defeat since Nov. 30 and just its second overall in the season.

“Very little,” Racela said when asked if he and his players ever doubted that they could win this series after having lost their first two clashes—one in the elimination round where they seemed to have a lock on the win only for San Miguel to turn it around in the last minute.

“We expected this kind of game, not unlike Game 1,” Racela said as he paid tribute to his players whom he described as being “locked in to the game plan” the entire night.

Rookie RR Pogoy and veterans Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro hit some big shots down the stretch and the TNT defense didn’t allow a replay of their elimination round loss when they shadowed Alex Cabagnot inside the final six seconds when the Beermen had the chance to forge overtime or even win.

Castro missed a triple-double by just three rebounds after shooting 10 points and dishing out 11 assists. De Ocampo was the second Texter with a double-double with 13 points and the same number of boards.

Game 3 of this series, which San Miguel coach Leo Austria described at the start to be “the best in the conference,” is slated this Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

“They will definitely make some adjustments and we will try and be ready for them,” Racela said.

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TNT spread out its offense as best it could, drawing twin digits from six players, while San Miguel had only June Mar Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot scoring the bulk of its points, with the reigning three-time MVP shooting 25 and almost winning it in the end.

Cabagnot chipped in 24 and combined with Fajardo for 19 points in the fourth period—just two less than the TNT total.

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TAGS: Final Four series, Nash Racela, PBA Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beer, TNT KaTropa
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