SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–TNT coach Bong Ravena admitted that they were simply “outsmarted” by Barangay Ginebra in Game Two of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
The Tropang Giga mounted a 15-point lead in the third quarter but collapsed down the stretch as the Kings pulled a 92-90 escape and took a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-seven championship series on Wednesday night at the AUF Arena.
“A very tough loss (for us). Kulang pa sa diskarte. We were just outsmarted by Ginebra,” said Ravena after another heartbreaking defeat following TNT’s 100-94 overtime loss in Game One last Sunday.
Behind Roger Pogoy’s hot hands, the Tropang Giga built a 54-39 lead early in the third frame but the Kings steadily cut the gap with Aljon Mariano, Jared Dillinger and Jeff Chan leading the charge.
TNT had a final run to go up 84-77 on Pogoy’s triple with 4:16 left in the game only to see Mariano and Stanley Pringle ignite a 7-0 Ginebra run, Scottie Thompson sink another big-time trey–his only basket in the game–and LA Tenorio seal the deal from the free throw line.
“Okay naman na sana but we were being outsmarted by them. Nandoon naman lahat eh, effort and play hard,” rued Ravena.
Although the 50-year-old tactician believed it could have been a different ball game with top scorer Ray Parks Jr. playing, he said the Tropang Giga remained aggressive in their quest to tie the series.
Parks sat out after aggravating his left calf strain injury in the finals opener.
“Nandun pa rin naman kami kahit wala siya eh. In fact, lamang na nga kami eh. It’s just that we have to finish strong. Bottomline is we have to play smarter than them.”
Ravena said the Tropang Giga’s morale definitely suffered a big hit after the tough defeat, but stressed that it’s up to them if they want to stay in the chase for their first title since 2015.
“To be honest, syempre mababa ang morale niyan. But it’s up to us coaches to motivate them. Sila din, tulungan din nila sarili nila on how to go over this hump. ‘Yun lang naman ang kailangan gawin e, kailangang malagpasan ‘yung adversity if you want to be great.”
“Mahaharap mo ‘yan e, frustrations, failures, so kailangan laban ka lang sa sarili mo at gawin mo lang lahat nang tama. That’s it.”