by Jonas TerradoCoach Nash Racela would rather focus on the more important task at hand than continue making statements about bad officiating as TNT KaTropa looks to finish off the San Miguel Beermen and advance to the finals tonight in Game 6 of their best-of-seven semifinal series in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Racela perhaps learned that the hard way after he was fined P20,000 by PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa for comments made after Game 4 when he said that the Beermen got some sort of “special treatment” from the referees.
He made the other side upset, particularly San Miguel Corporation sports director Alfrancis Chua, who at halftime of Thursday’s Game 5 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, called Racela’s comments unfair.
TNT, however, was able to make a huge response as the veterans led by Kelly Williams and Jayson Castro stepped up in the fourth quarter and beat San Miguel, 101-94, to move a win shy of ending the Beermen’s run of two straight Philippine Cup titles and deny them a chance at taking the permanent trophy for three consecutive titles – something TNT had done before.
“It just tells us that we need one more game (to win) if we want to advance to the finals,” Racela said after Game 5. “But I think that’s too far off for us before even thinking about that.”
Racela had every reason to be wary entering the 5 p.m. contest, knowing the Beermen’s familiarity of erasing deficits in the playoffs.
“Winning two games is a lot easier than winning (four) straight,” Racela said, referring to San Miguel’s historic comeback from a 0-3 deficit to win the Philippine Cup crown over Alaska.
Down but not out, the Beermen have declared that the series is far from over.
“Medyo sumisikip ng konti yung daan para dun sa goal namin. Pero at least may puwang pa naman, pwede pa kaming makapasok,” said Beermen forward Arwind Santos, who struggled with five personal fouls.
TNT had to deal with another foul-prone showing, committing 32 against 20 for San Miguel. But the KaTropa found ways to beat the Beermen, with their aging veterans leading the show.
Meanwhile, Star Hotshots forward Allein Maliksi apologized for the “cooking gesture” he made late in his team’s 93-86 loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Wednesday that tied their best-of-seven semifinal series at 2-2.
Maliksi’s gesture came during the dying seconds of the game marred by an evening of frustration for the Hotshots, who were beside themselves after being called 36 fouls compared to just 18 by Ginebra.
The former PBA D-League Most Valuable Player was fined with an undisclosed amount by Narvasa, alongside Marc Pingris, who jokingly told reporters after a postgame interview in Game 4 to watch his “Cooking Show” in what looked like a subtle shot at officiating.
Tags: Alfrancis Chua, Allein Maliksi, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Chito Narvasa, Jayson Castro, Kelly Williams, Nash Racela, PBA Philippine Cup, Philippine Cup, San Miguel Beermen, San Miguel Corporation