Despite losing Game 1, 84-76, on Thursday, Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson remains undeterred with his team’s chances in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals.
“Ako naman, just like sa semifinals, sa mga knockout games kami nagigising eh. Siguro naging kumpyansa, nag-relax ng konti. Pero pag do-or-die, yung mga larong walang bukas, doon kami umaahon,” he said.
The Rhum Masters failed to keep up with Phoenix in the second half and eventually succumbed to the Belo-led surge from the Accelerators.
“Noong umpisa, lumaban kami. Pero nung huli, na-survive din nila yung malalaki namin,” noted Chongson.
Gang rebounding did the trick for Phoenix, outrebounding Tanduay, 54-41, which also led to a 22-6 discrepancy in second chance points.
Chongson, though, thinks that inexperience is no longer the issue for his crew, with some of his rotation players being in the championship series of other leagues before.
“Wala na yan. Yung mga players ko, beterano na da ibang liga nila. Nag-champion na rin sila, nakaranas na rin ng big games,” he said.
And he is optimistic that he has finally found a chink in Phoenix’s armor, as the Rhum Masters eye to extend the Finals series to a winner-take-all Game 3.
“Konting polish na lang sa depensa,” said Chongson. “In this game, we were leading for more than 23 minutes. Pero sa crunch time, we missed some crucial free throws. Tingin ko naman, konting adjustments lang. Makukuha din namin yan.”