PBA: ‘Bloody dogfight’ seen as TNT attempts close-out of Meralco
TNT believes in the cliche that finishing a playoff series is the toughest thing to do.
Knowing what kind of a team its semifinal foe makes it even harder.
And coach Jojo Lastimosa, who will try to book the Tropang Giga a date with Barangay Ginebra for the PBA Governors’ Cup crown, went all out pulling metaphors to try to capture how things could end up during and after the 5:45 p.m. game on Friday inside Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s going to be a dogfight, it’s going to be a battle,” he said. “And whoever comes out as the team who wins [Game 4], they’re going to be bloodied.”
The Tropang Giga coasted to a 99-80 win on Wednesday to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and move on the doorstep of a fifth Finals appearance in the last eight conferences.
Ready in transition
But Meralco has shown that it can rebound following blowout defeats, bouncing back after being crushed by 30 in Game 1 by claiming a 124-117 overtime victory in Game 2.
Mikey Williams, who played the supporting role for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson during Game 3, is bracing for the same approach Meralco did in TNT’s lone loss so far in this semifinals series.
“Them being aggressive,” he said. “You see in Game 2, every time we scored, they pushed it right back down in transition. That’s where they scored most of their points last game.
“I think we just have to be ready in transition, just so that we can stay in their punch,” added Williams.
Meralco coach Norman Black has seen his team deal with slow starts in both losses, which he hopes can be corrected as the chance of a fifth Finals meeting with Ginebra hangs in jeopardy.
Another slow start in Game 3, matched with another strong game from Hollis-Jefferson, pushed the Bolts to the brink of elimination.
“They were able to establish their game immediately in the first quarter,” he said. “Their import came out with a lot of energy and pretty much dominated us in the first half.”
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