TNT didn’t have to look far or dig deep for motivation heading into its PBA Philippine Cup Semis Game 5 clash with San Miguel.
Sunday was more than enough.
It was Game Four of their best-of-seven series, to be exact. The Tropang Giga had absorbed an embarrassing 90-116 beatdown.
It was easily the worst defeat they’ve had in the tilt so far – quite a downer, since they handed the Beermen a 98-115 shellacking in the previous match.
“Yung loss na ‘yun, nag-motivate lang sa’min talaga ‘yun na kailangan namin laging maging preparado,” said lifer Jayson Castro.
And they did come in locked in.
It was the Tropa’s turn to deliver another rout, giving their corporate rivals a harsh 110-90 whipping to regain control of their chess match.
Castro himself was at the forefront of their attack with a conference-high 19 points on a 46-percent clip. He also had eight assists off the bench.
TNT, as a whole, shot 48-percent from the floor, including 14-of-38 from rainbow country – the most triples they’ve made in the semis so far.
The veteran playmaker said that it was important for them to become confident with their shots if they want to take down the long-time all-Filipino kings.
“Kailangan lang namin din maging confident sa mga shots namin,” offered the 35-year-old after the win at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
“Kasi alam namin na kahit na napakalakas na team na ‘yun, alam namin na may chance kami manalo as long na magawa namin ‘yung game plan ni Coach [Chot Reyes].”
The MVP Group’s crown jewel is now just a win away from returning to the Big Dance. But Castro knows that it will be easier said than done.
“Alam naman natin na sobrang malakas na team ‘yung San Miguel. At the same time, ‘yung experience nila sa mga finals nandoon. So kailangan lang namin sigurong doblehin pa kung ano ‘yung ginawa namin ngayon,” he said.
“Maganda na nanalo kami ngayon, pero hindi kami satisfied doon. Kailangan maging ready sa Game Six.”