By Jonas Terrado
TNT KaTropa coach Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel were at a loss after seeing their team suffer a major meltdown during Wednesday’s 99-94 loss in Game 5 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
The KaTropa looked as if they were headed for victory after Roger Pogoy’s three with 10:39 left in the fourth quarter gave them an 85-69 lead, only to miss 11 of their final 13 shots while committing nine turnovers.
Christian Standhardinger’s defense on Terrence Jones proved to be a major factor as the Best Import accounted for most of mistakes TNT made when it mattered.
“It sucks,” said Ravena during the customary postgame interview inside the Big Dome press room.
“Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong,” Dickel later said after emerging from the KaTropa dugout. “We just gave them that one.”
It was the second time TNT wasted a golden opportunity of winning a game in the title series that is dictated by how the KaTropa play.
TNT could have been up 2-0 in the series exactly a week ago when it led by four late in regulation and two with seconds left in the first overtime.
But missed free throws cost TNT dearly and SMB capitalized in the second overtime to take a 127-125 win.
“We have to take care of the game and finish the game strong,” Ravena lamented. “Pag pinabayaan mo, mawawala sayo e. So that’s a sad lesson (If you don’t take care of it, then the win will slip away from you. So that’s a sad lesson.)
It was TNT’s first back-to-back loss this conference, which proved to be untimely.
Down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, the KaTropa’s resolve will be tested on Friday when they try to force a deciding Game 7 at the Big Dome.
Another loss will mean a bitter end to a campaign filled with high hopes of a championship.