PBA: San Miguel braces for TNT's adjustments in pivotal Game 5

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2021 05:39 PM

PBA Media Bureau
San Miguel and TNT will contest a 3-2 series lead in Wednesday's Game 5. PBA Media Bureau.

MANILA, Philippines -- San Miguel head coach Leo Austria has no doubt that TNT will make changes after the result of Game 4 of their semifinals series in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup.

The Beermen tied the best-of-seven series at two games apiece after a huge 116-90 triumph on Sunday, in a game that was over by halftime. Seven SMB players scored in double-digits, led by Moala Tautuaa's 25, and they led by as much as 37 points in the win.

Game 5 is set for Wednesday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga, and Austria stressed that it will "pivotal."

"We're expecting na our opponent will step up big. So it's up to us how to counter what they're going to do," he said after Game 4.

"Knowing na very experienced 'yung coach ng opponent namin, they know how to deal with this kind of situation," Austria also said, referring to TNT head coach Chot Reyes. "We're expecting a lot that might happen. There's a lot of adjustment."

"Let's see what we can do."

Despite their big win, Austria doesn't believe that San Miguel already has a psychological edge or momentum against the Tropang GIGA.

He pointed out that TNT won Game 3 in blowout fashion, 115-98, but they couldn't sustain that in Game 4 that went San Miguel's way.

"They won the other night (Game 3), but lost the next game. So it's a matter of how will you adjust to the game," he added.

For Austria, what's crucial is that the Beermen maintain the same energy and intensity that brought them to victory in Game 4. San Miguel raced to an early 26-14 lead, with Tautuaa setting the tone by coming off the bench to score 10 points in the very first quarter.

They continued to attack the paint throughout the first half, putting the TNT big men in foul trouble. The Tropang GIGA were dealt a further blow when Tautuaa collided with Poy Erram early in the second frame, forcing Erram to make an early exit.

The TNT center is a game-time decision after sustaining a possible fractured cheekbone.

"I hope na the way we played today (in Game 4), ma-maintain namin, ma-sustain namin," Austria said. "What is is important for us, the players give a lot of energy, and that's the reason why offensively, defensively, executed lahat 'yung ginagawa nila."

Game time is at 6 p.m.