PBA: San Miguel players sent home early to prepare for Game 4
Philip Matel on Jul 20, 2018 11:36 PM
Leo Austria knew it was do-or-die for Alaska this time around, but their opponents' energy, motivated by their desire to extend the series, proved to be the difference Friday evening.
ANTIPOLO, RIZAL -- The San Miguel Beermen simply lost the will to win in Game 3 of the best-of-five Commissioner's Cup. Pair that with the Alaska Aces' infinite source of energy, it resulted to a Game 4 on Sunday at the Big Dome.
Beermen head coach Leo Austria seems to agree with the premise, as he sent home his players ten minutes after the final buzzer to aid them in their recovery for Sunday's big game, which could spell either another conquest of the Aces or a winner-take-all Game 5.
Austria knew it was do-or-die for Alaska this time around, but their opponents' energy, motivated by their desire to extend the series, proved to be the difference Friday evening.
"In terms of energy, wala talaga kaming energy kanina. It's hard to win all games eh. Considering na Alaska ang kalaban namin, alam namin na this third game na, their backs are against the wall. Ibibigay nila ang lahat ng makakaya nila, and it happens. But on our part, we did not play our game. We played their game. Outhustled kami, outplayed," the multi-titled coach explained.
The coach credited Alaska's heart at the Ynares Sports Center, pointing out the most glaring differences in the game: second chance-points and field goal attempts.
Alaska scored 33 second-chance points to SMB's 16, while the Aces attempted 103 field goals to the Beermen's 82.
"It is a wake-up call for us, because it is an opportunity na hindi namin put into waste. Sabi ko sa kanila, hindi na kailangan ng another conference to recover and to recharge and to regroup, so we still are in a position na may advantage."
What also was noticeable in the game was the benching of Renaldo Balkman, who rode the pine for the last eight minutes of the game. The coach explained that he wanted to prevent any sort of injury to the former New York Knick, as his team failed to respond to the Aces' vicious offensive and defensive attack.
"He's playing around 42 minutes per game and ngayon lang siya bumaba ng kaunti, which is 37. So I think he needs rest that time dahil for you to come back dahil it requires a lot of energy to pressure, hustle, to rebound, lahat gagawin mo and we're trying to avoid na something might happen, baka mamaya kakapwersa niya, ma-injure pa siya or ganyan."
"So I think that's the right thing to do for some of the players to taste some precious playing time for them."
The tactician also admitted that overconfidence had crept to their minds, but they were given a rude awakening by their second-seeded opponents by way of an emphatic 21-point victory.
Could it be the Aces' last gasp? Austria hopes so, pointing out the team's virtual twice-to-beat advantage for the rest of the series.
"We will try to watch what happened tonight and I hope na we come out next game na talagang full of energy. I think na energy-wise, wala talaga kaming energy kanina. I don't know kung nakatulong ba yung 3 days off prior to this game."
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