TNT, SMB go at it again

Texters, Beermen shoot for crucial tie-breaking Game 5 victory

Inquirer Libre - - SPORTS - By Musong R. Castillo @musongINQ

IT’S now TNT KaTropa’s turn to brace for a big fightback.

“It will again be a war,” coach Nash Racela said on Wednesday night, referring to Game 5 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-seven title series where San Miguel Beer tries to bounce back from a lethargic performance that left both teams tied at 2-2.

“Definitely, we will not back down,” Racela said af- ter coming out of the Texters’ preparations for the critical match.

The Beermen will still come into the game as the prohibitive favorites despite losing Game 4, 102-97. They had all the chances to win in the stretch, only to be outplayed by the Texters on both ends when it truly mattered.

Chris Ross, on the night he won his first Best Player of the Conference award, played his worst game of the series and promised a big day for the Beermen in Game 5.

“I felt I let my team down,” Ross, his head bowed, said after stepping out of the San Miguel locker room. “We played decent enough, but that’s not our style. We didn’t play with a sense of urgency. It started with me. I just wasn’t good enough.”

“We need to find ways to win, like we did in Game 4,” Racela said as he tries to put the Texters ahead in the series again for the first time since winning Game 1.

Joshua Smith proved to be one big headache for Leo Austria and the rest of the San Miguel coaching staff as the 330-pound banger got away with murder in the stretch. He finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds and threw the Beermen’s frontliners out of synch the whole night.

June Mar Fajardo fouled out trying to contain Smith, and import Charles Rhodes was ejected in the dying minutes for picking up a second technical foul.

Jason Castro bounced back from a mediocre Game 3 to gun down 10 of his 17 points in the fourth period, and rookie RR Pogoy snapped out of a two-game stupor to contribute offensively, factors that Racela said played a major role in the series-tying win.

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