By Jonas Terrado
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. — Ginebra vs TNT KaTropa
(TNT leads series 2-1)
Game 1 — TNT KaTropa 95, Ginebra 92
Game 2 — TNT KaTropa 88, Ginebra 71
Game 3 — Ginebra 80, TNT KaTropa 72
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is expected to play with renewed vigor as it tries to beat TNT KaTropa for the second straight time and force their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series to a deciding fifth game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The defending champions forged the 7 p.m. showdown at the Big Dome after staving off elimination Tuesday night with a hard-fought 80-72 win over the KaTropa at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coach Tim Cone vowed that his team will continue to fight for survival as long as it still has a chance to complete only the second comeback from a 0-2 deficit to win a best-of-five semis since 1993.
“As long as we’re still alive, we’re going to be fighting,” Cone said. “We’re still very much in the hole, so there’s a lot of work yet to be done. We just want to even the series and go from there.
“In our minds, we have just one game to win. We’ll worry about the other one later,” he added.
Among the things Ginebra will need to fix is to give import Justin Brownlee better scoring opportunities compared in Game 3 when he was almost held to single-digits for the first time in his PBA career.
Brownlee eventually got hot when needed, scoring eight of his 14 points in the payoff period.
“Their team defense, whenever I catch the ball, is really good,” said Brownlee, who for most game was hounded by TNT role player Don Trollano. “I just gotta read who’s defending me and how to play them.”
LA Tenorio, Stanley Pringle, Scottie Thompson, Joe Devance, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter are determined to make their imprint on the match in order to stretch the series to a decider on Saturday at the same venue.
TNT active consultant Mark Dickel, on the other hand, lamented on its flat start and a 5-of-35 shooting from three-point land that forced them to play catch up after being down 16-5.
“I just thought that we came out flat and they were ready. They played a really good game so we got to give them credit,” said Dickel. “It’s on us to come back and play tougher in Game 4.”