WITH a commanding 3-1 lead, Magnolia Pambansang Manok needs only one more win against Meralco to make it to the finals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Hotshots take the first of their three chances when they meet the Bolts in Game 5 of the best-of-seven semifinal series on Wednesday.
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero knows winning a close-out game against a team as talented as Meralco could be difficult.
“No one wins a best-of-seven with just three wins. When we win number four, that’s the only time we’ll end the series,” said Victolero on the eve of the pivotal fifth game.
“We have vto remind everybody that the most important game in the series is th eone that we’ll play n that day. Not Game 6, not Game 7 , but Game 5. So we have to stay focused,” added Victolero.
Magnolia’s guard Mark Barroca admitted it will be hard to finish off Meralco in their 3 p.m. encounter..
“Based on my experience, mahirap mag-close ng series, sobrang mahirap,” said Barroca in an interview posted at he official PBA website..
“So kung ano yung effort na ibinigay namin (in Game 4), kailangan pa naming i-triple para makuha. Kasi hindi ibibigay iyan eh. Kung kami nasa sitwasyon nila, back-to-the-wall, iyun talaga gagawin namin,”added.
Both Victolero and Barroca, however, should like their chances.
PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon said history seems to favor Magnolia.
Mangonon said 52 out of the total 56 teams which have taken a 3-1 lead inthe best-of-seven series went on to win the duel, including 27 of the last 28.
Also, 27 of those teams finished the series in Game 5.
Meralco coach Norman Black is not losing hope.
“We will be ready to play in Geme 5.The focus is to stay alive in the series,” said Black, while adding that starting center Raymond Almazan is a game-time decision.
In the other semifinal series, Talk N Text and San Miguel Beer clash at 6 p.m.
The series is tied at 2-2 and the winner of Game 5 should get a big psychological advanatage.
“We need to get better and play better (than Game 4),” said TNT coach Chot Reyes, who hopes to get JP Erram back in the game.
“It’s a (virtual) best-of-three now so Game 5 is really pivotal,”said San Miguel coach Leo Austria. “We expect our opponents to step up big and we have to be ready to counter and adjust to whatever they bring.”
No. 1 Talk N Text vs. No. 4 San Miguel Beer.
Game 1 –Talk N Text 89, San Miguel 88.
Game 2 — San Miguel 98, Talk N Text 96.
Game 3 — Talk N Text 115, San Miguel 98.
Game 4 — San Miguel116, Talk N Text 90.
(Series tied, 2-2).
No. 2 Meralco vs. No. 3 Magnolia.
Game 1 — Magnolia 88, Meralco 79.
Game 2 — Magnolia 92, Meralco78.
Game 3 — Meralco 91, Magnolia 86.
Game 4 — Magnolia 81, Meralco 69.
(Magnolia leads series, 3-1)
(DHVSU gym, Bacolor)
3 p.m. — Meralco vs. Magnolia
6 p.m. — San Miguel vs Talk N Text