MANILA, Philippines – Marc Pingris, the designated import stopper of the San Mig Coffee Mixers, was resigned to the fact that they lost Game Four. But did not back down from his earlier promise that they will win the series.
Pingris failed to contain Air21 import Wesley Witherspoon, who torched them with 32 points on 8-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc, in Game Four last Monday night.
“Talagang swerte yung tira nila sa labas eh,” Pingris told Philstar.com after the Express shot a franchise record 15 triples on their way to tying the series with a 94-91 victory.
But come do-or-die Game Five on Wednesday, Pingris is daring Air21 to shoot like they did Monday night.
“Tingnan natin kung ganun pa rin ang laro nila sa labas, talagang sa kanila pero hindi kami papayag sa next game,” Pingris said.
The Express approached Game Four with “nothing-to-lose” attitude and played loose. The Mixers, on the other hand, played tight and failed to withstand the pressure of closing out a gritty Air21 squad, who came up from no. 7 all the way to semifinals and now one game away from a dream finals run.
With their conference on the line, both the Mixers and the Express will go all out in Game Five.
“Fifty-fifty [ang chance] pero gagawin namin ang makakaya namin,” Pingris said.
The Mixers are not stranger to this type of situations, an advantage they will have against the Express, a first-time semifinalist under coach Franz Pumaren.
The outspoken Pingris still see the Mixers grinding out to win the series and challenge Talk n Text in the Finals for a possible third title in a row.
“Kailangan talaga naming magtrabaho minsan eh. Hindi lang puro salita,” Pingris said. “Kukunin namin yun [Game Five]. Kukunin namin yun kahit anong mangyari.”