Connecting with a blow each in the first two games, San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa go at each other again Friday to dispute the head start in what is now a best-of-five duel to determine the PBA Commissioner's Cup champ.
Though winning in contrasting fashions, the Beermen and the KaTropa are nonetheless on equal footing and both raring to come out to seize control in the series living up to the hype as a dream showdown.
Behind the fantastic showing of Terrence Jones, the KaTropa took the opener at 109-96, then the Beermen showed up as the tough-as-nails champion team as they are, grinding out a 127-125 win in a double-overtime thriller in Game Two Wednesday night.
And both are highly motivated and all pumped-up as they slug it out in Game Three at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"We refused to lose, knowing the importance of Game 2. We didn't want to fall 0-2 as it's hard to recover from such a deficit. Although we did it in the past, it would be extremely difficult against TNT, a very organized and very technical team," said SMB coach Leo Austria.
"I hope we can sustain all the things we did good while addressing our shot-comings and not allow TNT to score too many points off turnovers and second-chance points. If we can do that, I think we'll have a chance to win another game," he added.
The KaTropa bungled what had looked like a won ballgame Wednesday, but they're not dwelling on that, opting to focus on winning the next game.
"We can't do anything about that loss but move on, prepare for the next game. They just tied the series and now it's anybody's ballgame," said TNT coach Bong Ravena.
Easily the biggest turning point was Jones leaving the game when they were about to wrap it up in the last 21 seconds in regulation play.
That left an opening for SMB, and the Beermen pounced on it, thus, avoiding falling in a 0-2 hole.
Jones himself is not dwelling on that game - his exit, the officiating and everything.
"We can't control anything else besides how we approach our game plan and how much we succeed in it. They won it, so we gotta get ready for Friday," he said. (SB)