By Jonas Terrado
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:30 p.m. — TNT KaTropa vs San Miguel
(TNT leads series 2-1)
Game 1 — TNT KaTropa 109, San Miguel 96
Game 2 — San Miguel 127, TNT KaTropa 125 (2OT)
Game 3 — TNT KaTropa 115, San Miguel 105
TNT KaTropa is determined to put a stranglehold on the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals when it goes for a 3-1 lead over San Miguel Beer in Game 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Another victory in the game set at 6:30 p.m. will move the KaTropa one step closer to capturing their first championship since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup, a drought that seemed like an eternity.
Consultant Mark Dickel is sure that getting another win in the best-of-seven series will be as hard as it was in Friday’s Game 3 when TNT had to erase a 17-point second quarter deficit behind a 24-0 run.
Roger Pogoy, Don Trollano, Troy Rosario and Brian Heruela played their roles on both ends of the floor as the KaTropa prevailed 115-105.
“I’m really proud of them for just staying tough and sticking to it,” said Dickel, who saw TNT register the second-biggest run in Finals history behind Ginebra’s 31-0 run against Shell in Game 5 of the 1991 First Conference.
“That’s a really difficult team to play against and they’re champions for a reason. We know that we haven’t done anything yet. We got to come back and play another good game to give ourselves a chance.”
Import Terrence Jones’ composure will again be put under scrutiny after escaping ejection early in Game 3 when he headbutted San Miguel guard Chris Ross.
Dickel understands that Jones’ task has been difficult, considering how Ross and Christian Standhardinger kept trying to fish him into losing his cool.
“It’s really very difficult because it’s not an easy role to have where pretty much everybody on the other team is trying to agitate you and get you out of your game,” Dickel said.
“And look, I’m not saying that San Miguel is wrong for doing that. All I’m saying is it’s hard for him to adjust. So I thought he’s shown a lot of patience and a lot of maturity just to be able to play his way through the game and not reacting to any of that.”
SMB will try to display its championship poise and prevent themselves from falling behind 3-1 in the series.
Import Chris McCullough will attempt to have his best game of the series after dealing with turnovers and foul trouble throughout the series while June Mar Fajardo, Ross, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Terrence Romeo and Standhardinger look to deliver.