Tuesday, December 20, 2011
FIRED-UP BOOSTERS GO FOR SEMIS CLINCHER
Petron Blaze and Meralco both have Powerade’s upset of B-Meg in mind in setting out for Game Two of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinals showdown.
It’s a caution for the Boosters and an inspiration for the Bolts.
The Tigers upended the top-seeded Llamados twice in a row to steal a seat in the Final Four.
“Warning sa amin ‘yon na kailangan mag-start ng maganda at hindi pwede mag-relax,” said Petron coach Ato Agustin.
“The victory of the eighth seed defeating the first seed inspires us to believe that it can be done. With our back against the wall and fighting for survival against the mighty Petron Boosters, I can’t help but challenge our players and say ‘why not us,’” said Meralco coach Ryan
In winning the opener, 91-84, Friday, the Boosters have a chance to wrap it up in Game Two at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
“Pipilitin na namin kunin yan. Mahirap kung bigyan pa namin sila ng buhay,” said Agustin.
The Bolts, however, are raring to come out and force a sudden death Friday also in the Antipolo venue.
Petron and Meralco are disputing a semis slot versus reigning champion Talk n Text.
“We believe that for us long as they have not won two times, we still have a chance,” Gregorio said.
Their biggest challenge, the eloquent Meralco coach said, is how to defend against the talent-laden Petron team.
Gregorio made special mention of Alex Cabagnot and Arwind Santos.
“In Game One, Cabagnot played steady for 45 minutes and his back-to-back four-point plays dashed our chances of winning. Santos waxed hot in the third and ended with 19 points. We know what these guys are capable of doing and they must be addressed,” said Gregorio.
“Playing with a great sense of urgency is given. But we must combine it with basketball intelligence and composure. All is not lost. We will compete,” Gregorio added.
Cabagnot struggled for only four points in the first three quarters before picking up his game, keying Petron Blaze’s win in the opener.
The Fil-Am guard came through with 10 points in the last eight minutes, including a rare back-to-back four-point plays sparking a decisive run that gave the Boosters the crucial head start in the short series.
The Bolts need to win two in a row to salvage a semis seat.
“One-zero is big. The win is a huge confidence-builder, something you’ll carry over to the next game,” said Agustin. (SB)