Magnolia eyes equalizer in tension-filled finals series

Published October 26, 2021, 11:53 PM

by Jonas Terrado

PBA Images11-16

The simmering tension of the last few days is expected to be a factor Wednesday, Oct. 27 as TNT and Magnolia Pambansang Manok return to action for Game 4 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

TNT shoots for a commanding 3-1 lead in the scheduled 6 p.m. match against Magnolia, which aims to even the best-of-seven series after an emotionally-filled 106-98 victory last Sunday.

Much of the discussion during the lull has centered on incidents that have raised the temperature of the championship series.

Troy Rosario is doubtful to play for TNT for the rest of the finals after a dislocated finger and a spinal shock caused by a bad fall courtesy of a Jackson Corpuz bump in Game 3.

Corpuz was slapped with P20,000 but will not serve any suspension after his infraction was upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2.

The Rosario injury is not the only thing that irritates the Tropang Giga.

Team owner Manny V. Pangilinan lashed out at the officiating, calling it the worst he’s ever seen. The PBA did some steps, removing one of its referees from the finals roster after a phantom foul given to TNT’s Brian Heruela while challenging Paul Lee’s jumper.

Center Poy Erram also took his frustrations out by claiming that a Magnolia player spat at him during Game 3, though no clear evidence has been found despite whispers that the incident did happen.

The emotions from Game 3 may have served as a rallying cry for the Tropang Giga, who will look to regain the form they produced in winning the first two matches of the title series.

Eyes will be on rookie Mikey Williams, who despite the loss the last time continued his great finals showing with 39 points on 10 triples.

But that may not matter if Magnolia delivers another strong performance from its main players, particularly Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang, Mark Barroca, Calvin Abueva and Jio Jalalon.

Rome dela Rosa will again be tasked to help out on defending Williams while center Rafi Reavis is out to be another solid presence in the paint.

Rosario’s absence leaves TNT without its most versatile big man, which will force coach Chot Reyes to maximize his use of his other frontcourt players like Erram, Kelly Williams and Dave Marcelo.

Jayson Castro, Heruela, Ryan Reyes and even Kib Montalbo look to provide Mikey Williams help in the backcourt, much like they did for most of the eliminations and the playoffs.

 
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