WHAT THIS GAME MEANS
Getting one leg up. Taking the driver’s seat with a 2-1 series lead.
If Game 2 was the “Oh, we can hang with these Blaze Boosters” kind of game for the San Mig Coffee Mixers, Game 3 is more in the lines of “If we beat these guys again, we’ll definitely take control of the series.” See, going into this series, not too many people believed that the Mixers can at least hang with Petron. For SMC, Game 3 is about proving a lot of people wrong by showing that they have some distinct advantages in this series, specifically in the halfcourt execution department.
For the Petron Blaze Boosters, Game 3 is about getting back on the right path. As we’ve said in Episode 23 of SLAMRadioPH, it’s quite hard to imagine four of their main gunners having two consecutive off nights. This game is about proving that Game 2, indeed, just wasn’t their night.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
Freethrows and turnovers.
It’s amazing how the Mixers have shot 38 more freethrows in this series. Coach Gee Abanilla is baffled by the disparity because Elijah Millsap and June Mar Fajardo have been consistently attacking the paint in the first two games. But if you look closely, Marqus Blakely and Marc Pingris have attacked the basket more ferociously. The refs are just basically making a statement that “Hey this is the Finals. We’re allowing more contact before we blow.”
Petron had 21 turnovers in Game 2 compared to just 13 in Game 1. It’s not rocket science that they just have to take better care of the ball. On the other hand, they’d have to force more turnovers in this game than in the previous one. They weren’t able to get out on the break like they normally do back in Game 2 because they weren’t that active on D.
WHO TO WATCH OUT FOR
The best player of the conference wasn’t anywhere close to living up to the award with only 4 points, 1 board (Wow! When was the last time he had just one freakin’ rebound?), and 2 assists.
Bottom line: he has to do way better.
Photos by Paolo Papa of InterAksyon.com/InterAKTV