TNT attempts to even up the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at 2-2 on Sunday against a Barangay Ginebra San Miguel side aiming to bounce back and put a stranglehold on the best-of-seven affair.
Tipoff is once again set at 6 p.m. inside the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center with the Tropang Giga looking to build on their 88-67 victory over the Kings Friday night.
Coach Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel can only hope that TNT can capitalize on the win that came after endgame miscues allowed Ginebra to take the first two games inside the Smart Clark Giga City bubble.
“We’re just hoping that we play harder and better,” said Ravena after the Tropang Giga got valuable contributions from its top players amid the absence of Ray Parks Jr. due to a strained calf.
Tropang Giga skipper Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario broke out of their slump to key TNT’s triumph, with Castro posting 15 points and 10 assists while Rosario also scored 15 points.
They have been somewhat of a missing link for TNT in a series that saw RR Pogoy and Poy Erram as the most consistent performers.
Pogoy is averaging 25.0 points on 44-percent shooting to go with 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists through three games of the championship series while Erram produced 11.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per contest.
Having guard Simon Enciso convert his outside attempts and continue his defensive effort against Ginebra’s Stanley Pringle and veteran Jay Washington keep up with his valuable contributions on both ends will bode well for TNT, unless Ginebra makes significant adjustments.
Pringle was held in check after posting 29.0 points in Games 1 and 2, scoring just 11 on 4-of-14 shooting as Ginebra fell short of completing another comeback victory.
The loss spoiled an offensive surge from LA Tenorio, who dropped 12 of his 19 points in the first quarter after being held to just three in Game 2.
Having Tenorio play the same way coupled with Pringle redeeming himself and Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar performing consistently may enhance Ginebra’s chances of going up 3-1 in the series.
Another question mark going into the match is whether Parks will finally see action after sitting out the last two games after aggravating his calf in the series opener.
Parks was in uniform for both Games 2 and 3 but the Tropang Giga to rest the leading candidate for the Best Player of the Conference award.