Coach Bong Ravena said that there’s no more reason for TNT to cry over spilled milk despite acknowledging that the situation could have been different had TNT preserved its lead late in the first two games of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
“Naisip din namin yan na our last two games parang amin yun,” Ravena said after the Tropang Giga avoided the dreaded 0-3 hole with an 88-67 win in Friday’s Game 3 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
“We just have to deal with that 0-2 and gawan mo talaga ng paraan how to win, ma-even lang yung series,” said Ravena. “There’s no reason to celebrate. We’re looking forward to Sunday and hopefully we can continue playing like this.”
Game 4 of the best-of-seven affair is set Sunday inside the Smart Clark Giga City bubble, with Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel hoping for a repeat against a Ginebra side that produced a pair of comeback wins to open the Finals.
TNT fell 100-94 in overtime and 92-90 in the first two games after failing to sustain their leads down the stretch.
The Tropang Giga had a two-point lead late in regulation during Game 1 but was pushed to a five-minute extension when LA Tenorio found a cutting Arvin Tolentino for the basket.
Game 2 saw TNT hold a 15-point lead in the third and seven in the fourth behind RR Pogoy who finished with 38 points. But Ginebra found ways to steal another game, highlighted by Scottie Thompson’s go-ahead three from the corner with half-minute left in the fourth.
It appeared that Ginebra was poised to do the same thing on TNT when it cut a 15-point deficit down to just two 56-54 on a basket by LA Tenorio with 2:51 remaining in the third quarter.
But TNT doused cold water on the Ginebra uprising, hitting three triples courtesy of Jayson Castro, Jay Washington and Ryan Reyes during a 10-2 response to take a 66-56 lead into the fourth.
It was a run that enabled the Tropang Giga to get the needed cushion to seal Game 3.
TNT also got significant contributions from Troy Rosario and Jayson Castro, both inconsistent since the series started. Both scored 15 points with Castro dishing out 10 assists.
Defense also played a role in TNT’s triumph as it was able to limit Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle to just 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Pringle was Ginebra’s main source of production through the first two games with averages of 29.0 points on 46 percent shooting with 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.5 steals.
“Just like in the last game, we led by 15 and wala na. Natalo pa kami. But sabi ng mga players na we have to protect our lead, especially playing against Ginebra. Alam naman namin ang capability ng Ginebra,” he said.
“And also we have to be consistent on defense. Di lang namin mapascore si Stanley, malaking bagay sa amin yun kasi most of the scores are coming from him. So I just hope na matuloy namin itong klaseng laro namin,” added Ravena.