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Fight to the finish
EXPECT more exciting battles as top seed Talk N Text plays San Miguel Beer and Magnolia meets Meralco in the resumption of their best-of-seven semifinal series at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Action begins 3 p.m.with the Tropang Giga looking to duplicate their heart- stopping 89-88 victory over the Beermen last Sunday.
The Hotshots will also gun for a fitting follow-up to their 88-79 win over the Bolts also last Sunday.
Victories by both the Tropang Giga and the Hotshots will give them a big psychological advantage over the Beermen and the Bolts in their best-of-seven encounters.
“It was just all effort. I think the key was us believing we could win despite the absence of Kelly (Williams). The guys believed and it showed in the way they played,” said Talk N Text coach Chot Reyes in an interview posted on the official PBA website.
“There’s no one person who can fill the shoes of Kelly Williams — those are such big shoes –but everybody does a little bit extra in rebounding and defending inside,” added Reyes, who is hoping to lead the Tropang Giga to their first title since winning the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Reyes was also visibly elated with the efforts of his players to defend against six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo.
“It was a hell of an effort by the bigs without our starting big man to just stay with June Mar Fajardo. No one can stop June Mar. What we can do is stay with him and continue to do our best and see what happens.”
But the 6-10 Fajardo and the rest of the Beermen are expected to fight back and even the series.
Fajardo finished with double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds in San Miguel’s losing effort.
The Beermen fell behind by as many as 12 points but were able to get back into the game with still 10 seconds remaining.
Marcio Lassiter’s make-or-break shot, however, failed to hit its target.
In the 6 p.m.mainer, Magnolia will also try to ride the momentum of its series-opening victory over Meralco.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero knows it would not be easy.
“It’s always a tough game, always a dogfight. May pride and system ang dalawang teams. Kumbaga, duguan bago ka maka-score,” explained Victolero.
“So it’s all about the discipline and execution. Nakita nyo naman from start to finish close game. So siguro sa dulo lang magkakatalo talaga,” added Victolero.
Victolero is expected to to rely anew on Ian Sangalang, who finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, Paul Lee, who added 17 points and Calvin Abueva, who had 13 points in Magnolia’s victory over Meralco.
Bong Quinto, Anjo Caram, Mac Belo will lead Meralco’s bid.