|BigChill eye first ever Finals stint; Gems want another shot at NLEX|
One win away from their first PBA D-League finals stint, the Big Chill Superchargers hope the swing in momentum would make a big difference.
With their backs against the wall following their loss in the opener, the Superchargers, showing remarkable resilience and determination in Game 2 Tuesday, demolished the Cebuana Lhuillier Gems to tie their semifinal series at 1-1 and force a sudden-death match.
The winner of the 2 p.m. duel on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena will face early finalist and defending champion NLEX Road Warriors in another best-of-three titular series for the PBA D-League Foundation Cup starting next week.
“The swing of momentum is on our side and the team wants to take that as an opportunity to sustain what we did in our last game,” said Big Chill coach Robert Sison, referring to their masterful 111-70 victory in Game 2.
Alex Mallari, who managed just six points before being ejected midway in the third quarter of their 66-79 loss in Game 1, redeemed himself by tallying a game-high 20 points in the series-tying win.
Big Chill also got splendid performances from Elliot Tan, reserve shooting guard Mac Montilla, power forward Keith Jensen and center Jewel Ponferada, who hauled down 11 rebounds as the Superchargers mugged the Gems off the boards, 53-39.
Big Chill’s shooting was also awesome in Game 2. The team shot 56 percent from the floor and made 14 3-pointers, In contrast, Cebuana Lhuillier made just 25 percent of their attempts, including 8 of 31 from behind the arc.
Sison said his troops are very familiar with how the Gems play them.
“We have a very deep understanding of how Cebuana play. We know exactly how to counter it. It all boils down to execution, Sison said.
Cebuana Lhuillier coach Beaujing Acot gave no excuses for the lopsided loss in Game 2.
“They played very well last game and we played really bad. That’s basketball. There is always a winner. What’s important is that we still have a chance to bounce back from our bad game,” Acot said.
Considering the prize at stake, Sison and the his Superchargers expect the Gems to play with a tougher mentality in Game 3.
“We expect Cebuana to be more physical in the winner-take-all match and we are ready. We made adjustments for whatever physicality they will throw at us,” Sison said.
“Team Big Chill is a team that has never been in the finals. We believe the only way to do that is to get past a tough Cebuana team. Play hard and pray harder is the battlecry of the team.” (Dave Coros)
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