For three games in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, the three-pointer became the weapon of choice of the winning team. But faced with the prospect of falling in a deep series deficit, San Miguel Beer turned to its anchor to hammer out a crucial 106-101 Game 4 victory.
And Mark Dickel, the active consultant who runs the bench along with TNT head coach Bong Ravena, knows that with the race to the title trimmed to a best-of-three, the triple trend has ended and the goal for each team will be dictating pace.
“Naturally the team who can play their style will win each game,” he added.
The Beermen did so in the second half of Game 4 last Sunday, wielding the weapon that has helped the franchise fashion out a vise-like grip on the Philippine Cup: The Kraken.
The Beermen unleashed reigning five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and tied the series at 2-2.
Fajardo scored 16 points in the second half, including 10 straight San Miguel points in the third period that created much-needed cushion for his team. He also hit the buffer basket late in the game.
And he is expected to be in the middle of San Miguel’s bid to seize control of the series when it clashes with TNT in Game 5 on Wednesday.
“June Mar is a priority in the shaded area. And that’s what happened,” coach Leo Austria said after the Game 4 victory. “Every time we play according to the will of [just one] individual, [we don’t] prosper. I’m happy that they now understand what we’re trying to achieve.”
San Miguel also flexed another muscle in Game 4, the same thing it did in Game 2—its depth, typified by solid performances by Terrence Romeo in games the Beermen won.
Both Fajardo and the bench are assets TNT doesn’t have, forcing the coaching staff to overuse its main core.
“I am concerned about distributions of minutes,” Dickel said. “However, it doesn’t help that three of our top six players last conference are injured.
Skipper Ryan Reyes, forwards Kelly Williams and Tony Semerad are all sidelined.
“We just have to continue to play as hard as we can in order to give ourselves an opportunity to win.”
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