TNT had a game plan prepared for June Mar Fajardo heading into its semifinals showdown with San Miguel on Wednesday night.
But the KaTropa was never ready for the Beermen’s outside shooting.
“They came out firing on all cylinders,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela. “It was hard because I think in the first half they made 12-pointers already.”
“So it’s hard when you play a team like San Miguel becayse you have to focus on June Mar and then guys start to make their 3-pointers.”
That’s not to say Racela didn’t have a defensive strategy for San Miguel’s shooters, but it’s just a different story with the Beermen shooting the lights out from the opening tip.
San Miguel sank 12 out of its 17 three-point attempts in the first half before making four more in the final two quarters in a 111-98 win in Game 1.
Marcio Lassiter made four while Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and RR Garcia uncorked three each for the Beermen, who also had their inside game going with Fajardo and Espinas coming alive in the second half.
“But I think we just want to focus on the positives. We made a lot of breakdowns defensively. We made a lot of mistakes and yet, we’re still in the game. We were down 10, 12 points, we just couldn’t go over the hump.”
San Miguel shot 62% from downtown but Racela thinks it’s not going to be the case for the rest of the series.
“We’ll find ways [to contain their shooters]. It’s a series. I know it’s gonna be a long series so if one thing does not work then you look at another one,” Racela said. “And hopefully you find the right scheme that would make stops.”
“Give credit to San Miguel because they really are a talented team. It’s tough to choose who to guard when you’re playing against them. But we’ll find a way.”