As a first time head coach in a big league, Don Dulay had not shown signs of being rattled even in the scariest situations in the playoffs.
His Davao Occidental Tigers were a few minutes away from advancing to the MPBL Datu Cup National Finals, but Lester Alvarez and Jeff Viernes of Batangas City bailed their team out with timely baskets in overtime, as the inaugural staging champions were able to push the southern division finals duel to a third and deciding game.
On Monday at 7 p.m., the Tigers will try to do it one more time when they battle the Athletics right at the Almendres Gym in Davao City. San Juan and Manila clash in the other game at 9 p.m. to be held on a separate venue at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Both games will be aired live simultaneously on ABS-CBN’s Sports and Action channel and FOX Sports.
“We’ve done that in Game 1, we’re hoping we can do it again on Monday. But I have 100-percent confidence in my players. I’m not thinking of 50-50 chances or anything, but I certainly think we can do it,” Dulay told FOX PH in a telephone interview.
Looking at the two games of the series, Dulay believes every possession matters. They were on track to win in Game 2 which could have sent them right away to the National Finals, but lapses in the endgame allowed Batangas City to escape with the win.
“This series is about possession game. Whether it’s offense or defense, it has come to a possession game. We were so fluid in Game 1 because we beat them in almost all possessions, part of the reason why we held them to a franchise low 48 points,” added Dulay.
Defense, according to Dulay, will play a key role.
“Batangas is a streaky team. We kinda relax in Game 2, so they got their rhythm and since they have the home crowd with them, they were rejuvenated and managed to tie the series,” added Dulay.