PBA: Lack of preparation takes its toll on SMB
MANILA, Philippines – A one-day break between games proved insufficient for San Miguel Beer to prepare for their match-up against TNT KaTropa in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals, and they paid for it dearly in Game 1.
San Miguel wrapped up its semifinals series against Rain or Shine on Friday, taking a difficult 98-95 triumph. Just two days later, they were playing against the KaTropa in Game 1 of the best-of-7 finals series.
"It's hard to play in the first game, especially because we don't have time to prepare," said San Miguel coach Leo Austria, whose team reached the championship round as the seventh seed. "We're surprised with what happened today."
"Physically and mentally… we're not yet able to recover from the exhaustion that we got from our series in the semifinals," he admitted.
With just one day to rest between games, the Beermen were ran off the floor by TNT in the finals opener. An 18-0 run in the final four minutes of the first quarter put the KaTropa firmly in control, and they went on to take the victory in comfortable fashion, 109-96.
The Beermen struggled with their outside shooting, making just 5 of 24 threepointers. They also gave up
13 triples to TNT, and allowed the KaTropa to grab 18 offensive rebounds that they turned into 26 second chance points.
San Miguel point guard Chris Ross lamented how they were unable to even just come up with a game plan to try and limit TNT.
"Honestly, we couldn't even get on the court. We didn’t get on the court yesterday, at all. So, we watched a little bit of film, and coach talked on the board, but as far as court time, we didn’t get any court time yesterday (Saturday)," Ross revealed.
"So it’s kind of tough going into a finals game and you don’t actually do a walkthrough and go through their plays. Because I mean, that’s what we do before every game, we’re actually on the court, go through the schemes and every play and how we’re gonna guard them and we didn’t have any court time," he said.
Ross did acknowledge that the quick turnaround between their games was "the nature of the business," and the Beermen stressed that exhaustion or lack of preparation was no excuse.
"Siyempre, tao din naman kami. Napapagod, kasi hirap din nung series namin sa Rain or Shine eh, bugbugan din. Pero 'yun nga, kailangan namin... Professional kami eh. Trabaho namin ‘to," said SMB center June Mar Fajardo, who had 23 points in a losing effort.
"No doubt, ang ganda ng preparation nila ng Game 1. Kasi mas nakapagpahinga rin naman sila kesa sa amin. Pero hindi 'yun ang rason eh," said veteran forward Arwind Santos, who noted that the Beermen were simply outplayed on both ends of the floor.