Aug 13, 2019

Beermen try to sustain momentum, KaTropa eye strong start in Game 5

San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa have split the first four games of the PBA Commissioner's Cup championship series, and their war of attrition is on.

It's a title playoff assured of a Game Six, and could reach all the way to a deciding Game Seven.

The combatants fight for the pivotal 3-2 lead as they resume their slug-off coming from a welcome two-day rest at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.

Game time is at 7 p.m. with no team expected to budge an inch in pushing their championship bids in this critical stage of the series.

As they stuck with just playing the game and reduced playing mind game with TNT super import Terrence Jones, the Beermen dictated the tempo for the most part in Game Four and forced a 2-2 standoff with a 106-101 decision.

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Also proving to be big factors in Game Four were Chris McCullough becoming a more active and aggressive, and the team getting the ball a lot more at the post on June Mar Fajardo.

And needless to say, the burden of adjustment is now on TNT KaTropa.

Since Game Two, the KaTropa has always been playing catch-up in each game, and main local Jayson Castro said this should not be the case if they're to beat the now surging Beermen.

"For us to win, dapat hindi kami naghahabol, dapat andun lang kami," said Castro, pointing as that as the underdogs, they have to make the game close and try to win it at endgame.

"Sa start ng third ang sama ng execution namin. Ang laki na naman ng hinabol namin," said Castro on their Game Four folly.

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Jones hopes to correct their attitude of being a bit relaxed at the start.

"We have to focus on starting the same way we finish," he said.

"I think we're finishing games with desperation on defense and being aggressive, and everybody's trying to win. But in the beginning, I feel we're easing into it, and relaxing and letting guys get off and get hot or get comfortable, and when in the second half, we're taking it away," Jones pointed out.

"If we just start the game how we play in the second half, I think we'll be good," he added.

Meanwhile, the Beermen were thankful they avoided falling in a 1-3 hole that is hard to recover from.

"Buti nakuha namin yung Game Four. Ang hirap mabaon sa 1-3," said Fajardo, now feeling good with their 50-50 chance to salvage the series.(SB)