TNT blasts Gins, up 2-0; Pivotal Game 3 duel for San Miguel, Star
Rarely do coaches say that they have resorted to prayers to ask for help during games.
Nash Racela was man enough to admit that and Anthony Semerad rose from among TNT KaTropa’s superstars with four fourth quarter triples that propelled the Texters to a 107-103 win and a 2-0 lead over Barangay Ginebra in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four series at Mall of Asia Arena.
“To be honest, I don’t know which part of the fourth period, when the referees were calling consecutive fouls on us and we were about to lose focus as a team, I just prayed on the sidelines,” Racela said after the gut-wrenching triumph that put him on the cusp of a first title series appearance.
And Semerad, never known to be an offensive player, was the answer to his prayers.
The last of Semerad’s treys gave the Texters a 105-103 lead, before Joshua Smith sealed the deal with a putback of a Jayson Castro airball as the series many saw will go the distance could have an ending on Thursday when Game 3 is played at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We need to guard against complacency,” Racela said.
The last time the TNT franchise had Ginebra buried in a hole this deep didn’t end well for the Texters, as they eventually walked out in Game 4 of the 2010 Philippine Cup’s quarterfinal stage before losing the rubber match.
The Final Four series between San Miguel Beer and Star goes into its third game on Wednesday, also at 7 p.m.
The Beermen and the Hotshots slugged it out in the lowest-scoring playoff game here on Monday and San Miguel was lucky to escape with the win, by coach Leo Austria’s admission, as Paul Lee barely missed a running jumper in the waning seconds.
“Star knows our weaknesses and strengths,” Austria said.