TNT coach Nash Racela knows all too well not to mess with a team that goes by a "never say die" mantra.
Racela and his KaTropa squad look to finish off Barangay Ginebra in Game 3 of their best-of-5 semifinals in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at Araneta Coliseum on Thursday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
In Game 1, Ginebra had no answer for Joshua Smith (35 points). In Game 2, coach Tim Cone and co. checked Smith (16 points), but were caught off guard by the hot shooting of forward Anthony Semerad, who made a bunch of 3-pointers late in the game to key TNT's 107-103 victory for a 2-0 series lead.
The loss put Ginebra in desperation mode, a position in which Cone's squad thrives.
The Ginebra mystique isn't lost on Racela.
"You don't usually get this kind of (2-0) advantage against Ginebra," Racela said. "But knowing the character of this team, they never give up. So if there's one team that could come back, it's them."
According to PBA chief statistician Fidel Mangonon, since 1993, there have been 34 instances wherein a team led 2-0 in a best-of-5 series. In those cases, 33 teams went on to win the series. The exception? When TNT lost in the 2010 Philippine Cup to Ginebra.
"Sana mapakita ulit namin ngayon (iyong never-say-die spirit), kasi last conference down kami 0-2, pero best-of-7 iyon. Ito, short series lang," Scottie Thompson said, referring to Ginebra's comeback against Star in their recent Philippine Cup semifinal series, which Thompson and co. won 4-3.
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