IT’S anybody’s game now in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
With the semifinal series now reduced to best-of-three games, Barangay Ginebra and Meralco and Phoenix Super LPG and Talk N Text resume their campaigns today at the Angeles University Foundation (AUF) Sports Center.
The winners of today’s semifinal matches in the NBA-inspired bubble in Pampanga will take a decisive 2-1 lead and move closer to championship appearance in this coronavirus-interrupted All-Filipino Conference.
Last Friday, Meralco routed Ginebra, 95-77, and Phoenix subdued Talk N Text, 110-103, to even their best-of-five series at one game apiece.
Meralco coach Norman Black was visibly relieved to be able to hold their own against Ginebra.
“We just talked about the fact that we could not go down 0-2 in the series. We would not have a chance to come back from that deficit against Ginebra,” said Black.
“This game was really, really important for us.”
Meralco superstar Chris Newsome also admitted the Bolts played with a lot of urgency against the Gin Kings to level their own series.
“We knew we had to come out with a lot of energy than the first game. Lots of guys came out and stepped up,” said Newsome, who finished with 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and one steal in the Bolts’ vengeful win over the Gin Kings last Friday.
Both Black and Newsome hope to continue their good game in what could be another grind-out game against Ginebra.
The Phoenix-Talk N Text series is also expected to fight to the finish as both teams look for a decisive edge.
“We really have to give our very best in every game. No guarantee of winning.Hopefully, we can get Game 3 again,” said Phoenix coach Topex Robinson after the Fuel Masters’ smashing victory over the Tropang Giga.
“Talk N Text has been a bit of a problem for us. To reach the finals, we have to face the problem.We have to remind ourselves to always be hungry and always make sure that we are grounded and it will take all of us to again beat a team like them,” added Robinson.
Robinson, who took over the coaching chores from Louie Alas just before the start of the bubble competition last month’ said they will will continue to focus on defense, especially on Talk N Text gunner Jayson Castro.
“We just want to make sure that everybody is in check because that TNT team has a solid lineup so we have to pick our poison,” offered Robinson.
“It just so happened now that Jayson didn’t really contribute but we know that Jayson will come back stronger.”
Jason Perkins and Calvin Abueva are again expected to lead the Fuel Masters, who are still playing with an injured Matthew Wright.
(AUF Sports Center)
4 p.m. — Talk N Text vs. Phoenix
6:30 p.m.- Ginebra vs. Meralco