TNT coach Chot Reyes has experienced both triumph and heartbreak when holding a 2-0 lead in the PBA Finals.
The Tropang Giga’s twin victories over the Magnolia Pambansang Manok to start off the Philippine Cup title series marked the sixth time that Reyes has steered a team to a similar advantage in the finals.
Three of those ended in Reyes getting the traditional victory ride, first with Purefoods back in the 1994 Commissioner’s Cup against Alaska followed by his time with TNT opposite San Miguel Beer in the 2011 Philippine Cup and in the 2012 Philippine Cup over Powerade.
Reyes, however, saw two of his team squander 2-0 leads, first in the 2003 All-Filipino Cup when Coca-Cola allowed TNT to win the next four games to capture its first-ever crown.
His other blown lead came in the 2007 Philippine Cup during a rare tenure with San Miguel Beer, which took the first two games only for Barangay Ginebra to come back and take the title by winning four straight.
Reyes is no longer dwelling on those two setbacks, opting instead to heed the advice from a comedy series being streamed online.
“I’m a big fan of Ted Lasso. I have the memory of a goldfish,” Reyes said after TNT’s 105-93 win over Magnolia in Game 2 last Friday, Oct. 22 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University.
Regardless of mixed experiences, Reyes would gladly accept being up 2-0 in the series that saw the Tropang Giga dominate the Hotshots with an average margin of 15 points in both games.
Another win and Reyes will close in on a ninth PBA championship which would put him in a tie with his former Gilas Pilipinas assistant Jong Uichico for fourth all-time.
Magnolia also has a history in erasing 0-2 deficits in the finals, dating back to its days carrying the popular Purefoods banner.
Purefoods did it twice against Alaska and coach Tim Cone, rallying to win the best-of-five title series in the 1990 Third Conference for Baby Dalupan’s 15th and final PBA championship.
The second came 12 years later as interim coach Ryan Gregorio guided a team led by Finals MVP Kerby Raymundo, Ronnie Magsanoc and import Derrick Brown to a seven-game series win over the Aces in the Governors’ Cup Finals.