Vital tiff

  • Written by Arman Carandang
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 278
Game today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
Game 3, Best-of-7 semifinals
7 p.m. -- NLEX vs. Magnolia
PRESSURE and adjustment.
These were two utterances that seemed to have pervaded the air after NLEX and Magnolia
split the first two games of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-7 semifinal series.
The Road Warriors won Game One, 88-87, last Saturday in a victory that seemed to have
brought more pressure to the team that’s playing in the semifinals for the first time.
The Road Warriors’ apparent pressure has eased out when they lost in Game 2 last Monday to
Magnolia, 99-84.
“In a way, it’s good because it releases some of the pressure,” admitted NLEX coach Yeng
Guiao, referring to the Game 2 loss.
For Guiao and his fighting crew, it will be a real test of their mettle, whether they are
capable of bouncing back from a loss  -- something that Magnolia had shown in Game 2.
Now that the pressure is  off, Guiao and his Road Warriors set out anew today in Game 3
looking refreshed and, in the words of the coach, ‘recharged.’
“I expect us to be recharged in Game 3,” stressed Guiao.
The Road Warriors and the Hotshots square off anew in Game 3 at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta
Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said the adjustment they did implement in Game 2 paid off,
and that’s despite a shortage of manpower.
“We just tied the series,” said Victolero. “We adjusted a little bit on our defense and we
tried to move the ball.”
Magnolia is supposed to be the overwhelming favorite in the series after finishing number
two in the elimination and for having the experiences brought in by their frequent stint in the
However, Magnolia is struck with manpower crisis just under the most crucial phase of its
campaign, with three of his starters down with injuries.
Slotman Marc Pingris is down with an ACL injury, Justin Melton has hamstring problem, while
Mark Barroca could not be used 100% because of his sprain.
That’s the trouble with being involved in a war: you have to continue fighting with what is
left in your arsenal.
“We just tied the series,” said Victolero of the win fashioned despite the absence of Marc
Pingris (ACL) and Justin Melton (hamstring). Even Mark Barroca was not 100 percent due to a sprain.
Good thing for Magnolia, it still has a number of bankables in Paul Lee, Ian Sangalang,
Aldrech Ramos and Rome dela Rosa  -- the quartet shone in offense last time around.
Meanwhile, Marcio Lassiter highlighted his explosive performance in the PBA Philippine Cup
semifinals by making the game-winning putback to give San Miguel a 2-0 series lead over Barangay
Lassiter’s back-to-back hot-shooting performances earned him the PBA Press Corps Player of
the Week for the period of March 6-11.
The 30-year-old Lassiter kicked off the All-Filipino conference Final Four by knocking down
five triples as San Miguel administered a 102-90 beating of a weary Ginebra side last Friday.
The former Smart-Gilas shooter finished that game with 17 points and five rebounds.