CLARK — Gaining the upper hand will be the objective when Phoenix Super LPG battles TNT Tropang Giga in Game 3 of their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup best-of-five semifinal series Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Arena powered by Smart 5G here.
The Fuel Masters clash with the Tropang Giga at 3:45 p.m. while Meralco battles Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the 6:30 p.m. featured encounter of this special season that is being played inside a quarantine bubble.
After dropping Game 1, the Fuel Masters sprung back to life following an impressive 110-103 win over the Tropang Giga in Game 2.
Gunner Matthew Wright was still in sickbay, but it didn’t matter as the bruising tandem of Jayson Perkins and Calvin Abueva did damage for the Fuel Masters, who shocked the favored Tropang Giga.
Perkins, an unheralded banger from De La Salle University, registered 21 points and four rebounds while Abueva dominated, delivering 20 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two steals in an explosive display of all-around brilliance.
Phoenix coach Topex Robinson said their maturity and willingness to win carried them in the crucial stretch of the match.
“I think it’s really about defining and knowing your role. Each of their roles are defined, that’s why there’s no problem with our scoring,” said Robinson, who also drew an inspired performance from Justin Chua.
“Coming into this series, Matthew was our guy. But when Matthew was not well, Calvin took the key. The same goes for Jason and Justin, who both delivered when we needed them the most.”
But beating a disciplined team like TNT in two consecutive games is easier said than done.
3:45 p.m. — Phoenix vs TNT
6:30 p.m. — Ginebra vs Meralco
Although Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy and Poy Erram were quiet, Ray Parks still delivered, firing a career-high 41 points in a sizzling 10-of-14 from the rainbow territory.
Castro was limited only to nine points in nearly 30 minutes of action while Pogoy and Erram tallied quiet 13 and 10 markers, respectively.
TNT head coach Bong Ravena said all of them must step up and provide the firepower if they want to make it all the way to the finals and win their first title since 2015.
“Phoenix really played well; we have to give it to them. They shot a lot of threes and post ups just like what we did in Game 1,” said Ravena, who is being assisted by Kiwi coach Mark Dickel.
“We need to show that we want it more.”
Also looking to sustain its momentum is Meralco.
Coming off a 95-77 victory over the Kings, the Bolts are tipped to march with fire in their eyes against the Kings in Game 3.
“We have now tied the series to 1-1, so we have to do a pretty good job in preparing for Game 3,” Meralco coach Norman Black, who is expecting another electrifying performance from playmaker Chris Newsome and hotshot Allein Maliksi, said.