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PBA T ‘N Text fights for life today

By Jonas Terrado

Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
6:45 p.m. Talk N’ Text vs Petron

Manila, Philippines – Seems like Petron coach Ato Agustin is bracing for the long haul despite carrying a 2-1 edge over Talk N’ Text in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.

“Lamang kami ng 2-1 sa series na `to pero di ko rin masasabi kung nasa amin na ang advantage,“ said Agustin after Monday’s hard-fought 95-93 win at the Cuneta Astrodome.

“Tignan mo naman yung game, talagang match na match lang kami at nagkatalo lang sa breaks of the game.“

But the Boosters know that taking a 3-1 edge in today’s Game 4 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum will put them on a virtual seat in the finals for the second straight conference.

Petron overhauled a 20-point second quarter deficit before leaning on a booming three by Alex Cabagnot in the dying seconds to pull off an escape act.

“Na-outwork kami ng Talk N’ Text dahil sa intensity nila nalamangan kami ng 20 points,“ Agustin said. “Sumabay kami sa tempo nila na fast pace nung first half buti na lang inunti-unti namin nung second half.“

Cabagnot, who has embraced the role of hitting clutch shots, had 12 points while Arwind Santos had his best offensive output of the series with 25 markers.

Another player that killed the Texters was Denok Miranda, who drained 12 of his 20 points in the payoff period to complete the comeback.

“We can’t afford to have 20 points from Denok,“ said TNT coach Chot Reyes. “They came out with a big game and we thought we had control of the game but we allowed them to cut the lead at the end of the second quarter.“

“That’s what happens when you don’t take care of business,“ added Reyes, whose team lost despite strong games from Kelly Williams, Jimmy Alapag and rookie big man Japeth Aguilar.

A loss will probably end the Texters’ bid for back-to-back titles, Reyes believes.

“Our only option now is to win,“ Reyes said. “If we lose Game 4, I think that’s it. We’re losing this series on mental lapses and we’re making mental mistake after mental mistake and there’s no room for that.“

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