Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Alaska guard RJ Jazul urged his Aces teammates to take the fight to Rain or Shine on Game 4 set on Friday night as they try to derail the Elasto Painters’ imperious drive to the 2016 PBA Commissioner’s Cup crown at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces found themselves on the brink of absorbing a finals shutout after a 108-112 setback dealt by the Elasto Painters in Game 3 Wednesday night when they fell short on overhauling a sizeable 27-point deficit in the second half.
But the 5-foot-11 Jazul isn’t ready to raise the white flag yet, confident that the Aces still have plenty of fight left in them as they try to return the favor they endured against the San Miguel Beermen in the Philippine Cup finals last February.
“Sa Game 4, first half pa lang, desperation na talaga. Do-or-die na kasi (for us),” said the former Letran standout who pumped in 12 of his 14 points in the final period of Game 3 as he conspired with import Rob Dozier and backcourt partner Chris Banchero in their searing fightback that went for naught.
“Nothing to lose na kami. We don’t have any other choice but to fight back.”
While the confidence of Alaska coach Alex Compton on them remains the same, the 30-year old Jazul knows he and the rest of his teammates should take into their collective hearts what they intend to do against the pumped-up Elasto Painters.
“Sabi ni coach, don’t look at Game 7. Game by game lang. Every second, every possession,” he said. “‘Yun ang kulang namin. Nawawala kami sa ibang sequence tapos nakaka-convert sila.”
That tendency of the Aces was in full display in the middle quarters when the Elasto Painters went on repeated scoring binge that saw them to take a whopping lead of 27 points late in the third frame.
“Lahat ng defensive breakdown namin, convert nila,” Jazul lamented. “‘Yung (Pierre Henderson)-Niles sa loob, open na open. Paano nila mamimintis kung walang bantay? Parang round robin lang sa kanila.”
The way the Rain or Shine gunners are firing away from beyond the arc—most on uncontested attempts—also continued to make life miserable for Alaska.
“Mahirap pigilan ‘pag wala silang bantay. Ang dami nilang open shots. Kapag andu’n na kami, kumpyansa na sila. Lahat halos nang naipasok, naka-convert, naka-contribute,” Jazul noted, aware that the 12 of the 13 Elasto Painters fielded by Yeng Guiao manage to score.
Jazul added the Aces need to display the resiliency they showed in the final frame if they intend to finally put one over the Painters.
“Sa second half, nagawa namin ang dapat naming gawin. Sana sa Game 4, magawa namin buong game,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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