PBA: Finish off TNT? Phoenix just wants to be better, says coach

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2020 01:24 PM

PBA: Finish off TNT? Phoenix just wants to be better, says coach 1
The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters are one win away from a Finals spot. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines -- With a chance to book a spot in the finals of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, Phoenix Super LPG coach Topex Robinson is doing his best to keep the Fuel Masters on an even keel.

The Fuel Masters are on the brink of a breakthrough finals appearance after an impressive 92-89 win over the TNT Tropang Giga in Game 3 of their semifinals series on Sunday night, where they displayed tremendous composure in the endgame.

Matthew Wright, playing on a bum right ankle, drilled the dagger jump shot with 22 seconds left, and the Phoenix Super LPG defense held firm in the closing seconds, contesting potential game-tying triples by Roger Pogoy and then by Jayson Castro.

Yet even with a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, Robinson said their focus is not on wrapping things up on Wednesday night.

"We know that we're hurt and we're tired, but we also have to look at the other team. If we're hurting and we're tired, I'm sure they're also hurting and tired," he said.

"We don't really focus on finishing it off on Wednesday or anything else," he added. "We just wanna be the best team, the better team from today. We could do better."

Rather than dwell on closing out TNT, Robinson said they must pay attention to the mistakes they made on Sunday night, noting that they still committed "a lot" of errors despite getting the win.

The game featured four deadlocks and 10 lead changes, and was a toss-up until the final minute when Wright broke free of Pogoy's defense for a free throw line jumper that made it a three-point game. Even then, the Fuel Masters still had to put together a strong defensive stand in the closing seconds of the game to seal the deal.

"The only thing we have control of, is how we're gonna make sure that we're not gonna commit the same mistakes that we made earlier," said Robinson.

The coach further stressed that what matters most for the Fuel Masters is that they continue to stay true to their mission while playing basketball. 

"By the way we're playing right now… it's about inspiring others," Robinson said. "If we could go to the finals and inspire a lot of people, that's what we're headed."

"So we're gonna stay here as long as we could, because we know that as long as we're gonna give our best, winning will be the byproduct of everything that we're doing," he added.

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