San Miguel 102 – TNT 88, San Miguel ties the series 1-1
When the score read 17-0 in favor of TNT KaTropa, you kinda knew it was coming. When the lead dwindled down bit by bit, you felt it even more. When TNT couldn’t score in the beginning of the second quarter, you knew for sure. In the PBA, no lead is safe. And when you’re up against the San Miguel Beermen, you know a game-changing run was about to happen at any point.
In the end, we have a tied series in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup after SMB dismantled TNT, 102-88.
“I told them na don’t panic. This is the first quarter,” San Miguel coach Leo Austria confidently said after their comeback victory. He told his team, “It doesn’t matter na lamang sila, this is the first quarter. What I want you to do is let us run our game plan.”
SMB’s game plan probably included limiting TNT’s Hulk-like import Joshua Smith, the hero of the first game. Smith only had 11 points in 17 minutes of action. Roger Pogoy also became a non-factor for the KaTropa despite going for 27 points in the previous game. The Gilas standout had 0 points and was even ejected early in the third quarter because of an apparent low blow to Arwind Santos.
For SMB’s side, June Mar Fajardo was the high-point man with 22 points while also hauling down 11 rebounds.
But more than the numbers, the game came down to SMB’s resiliency and persistence. We are living in the SMB era of the PBA and their path to greatness will always be remembered for their ability to just flip the switch whenever they need to. And in game two, they were able to recover thanks also to their second unit. Fajardo and Chris Ross may have led the way in terms of putting up points on the scoreboard, but Austria pointed out their bench had a major role in the comeback.
“We had a bad start. Sino ba nagbigay ng bad start? Starters namin. Kailangang humugot ako dito sa bench,” the coach stressed. “That’s why I’m so thankful dahil even though hindi sila nakaka-score but they give enough energy to boost our defense.”
“I hope ma-sustain namin ito. It’s a game of adjustments,” he added. “We will see kung saan kami mag-aadjust ulit dahil hindi pwedeng ma-kampante kami sa game namin ngayon.
If you add their superbly talented starting lineup, their experienced coach, their unselfish supporting cast, and their incredible belief in themselves, the San Miguel Beermen are extremely tough to beat.
They can be down 17-0 in a game, or even 0-3 in a series, and yet they can still pull out a rabbit out of the hat and escape with a victory.