Powerade Tigers send the broom back into the closet.
by rick olivares pics by nuki sabio
Put away the brooms, said the Powerade Tigers.
They sure found that endgame verve to stay Talk ‘N Text ascension at least by a couple more days. Or perhaps not at all. Powerade head coach Bo Perasol said they think of only one game. Like it’s just the first game. Except maybe they should repeat the process and think it’s Game Seven.
Talk about suspense. And that was what this game was all about. Talk ‘N Text fell into a hole and although they were able to tie the game twice just when you thought that was the moment they took over, the Tigers showed their moxie by responding with a run of their own.
But two errors in the last minute – one by JV Casio and the other by Sean Anthony – gave the Tropang Texters an opportunity to send the game into overtime. But they missed a couple of shots by an inch! I think Powerade’s defense in crunchtime wasn’t that great. TNT just didn’t make their shots. Has this series been all about offense?
The big difference in this match in my opinion was the play inside of the Tigers’ big men in Rommel Adducul, Doug Kramer, and Sean Anthony. Adducul muscled his way in for 10 points 6 rebounds, and had 3 blocks. He provided much needed relief for Doug Kramer and Sean Anthony. There was a 40-29 disparity in points inside in favor of Powerade. Ranidel de Ocampo, who had his way around Kramer and Anthony in Game 3 only netted three points and get this zero rebounds in 14 minutes (well he was in foul trouble but still).
The Tigers’ bench only scored 15 points but they made their mark on defense by holding off TNT. It got to the point where the Tropa’s head coach Chot Reyes had to send in Rich Alvarez and Gilbert Lao for a little over three minutes each – a signal that the other bigs needed to step up. TNT outrebounded Powerade 57-44 but the Tigers shot a whole lot better 46.% to 38.6%. The missed free throws down the stretch by Ali Peek hurt TNT.
TNT’s interior has been porous. Powerade repeatedly attacked them off the dribble drive. I know Japeth Aguilar is not the rebounding stud he is supposed to be but maybe prepping him to shore up the D will help. I am also a firm believer in establishing the inside game right away. Because if that fails and the outside artillery does not find the range then you are in all sorts of trouble.
Interestingly, Powerade has shot more free throws in three of the four games. TNT only had more in Game 3.
For Powerade to extend this, they will need the bench to produce. Gary David, the Best Player of the Conference, played long minutes once more. But he shot better as he opted to drive a little more for the higher percentage baskets. That helped because it kept Fonacier, Jared Dillinger, and Ryan Reyes off balance. Their interior defense and flashes of zone defense forced TNT to shoot from the outside a little more.
If Powerade wins this, no question, the MVP is Gary David who in four matches has churned out an average of 30 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
If TNT closes it out on Sunday and Larry Fonacier scores over 10 points, he should and I mean should be named Finals MVP. He is averaging 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3.0 assists.