By WAYLON GALVEZ
Game Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – San Mig Coffee vs Petron Blaze
Manila, Philippines – After his team’s setback to San Mig Coffee in Game 2 of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals series, Petron Blaze’s rookie head coach Gee Abanilla gazed at the stat sheet and was dismayed by two particular numbers.
There were 33 fouls called against his team, resulting in the fouling out of three of his top players. Even more disconcerting, 55 free throws were awarded to their opponents as a result of the fouls.
In contrast, only 19 fouls were called on San Mig Coffee that translated to 33 foul shots for the Boosters.
“This loss was disappointing,” he said. “We really played hard, we prepared for this game.”
“All we want to do is play basketball. Unfortunately, there were things that came up during the game,” he said citing the disparity regarding fouls.
“The game plan was to really attack. Maybe there is some fault on our part. But when you have your best three players fouling out, it changes the complexion of our game. I’m just hopeful we could adjust to the calls in this series and we shouldn’t be affected by them,” added Abanilla who saw his players import Elijah Millsap, Arwind Santos and rookie center June Mar Fajardo foul out of the game.
San Mig Coffee was able to take advantage of the free throws and won,, 100-93, that tied the best-of-seven championship series at 1-1 last Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Game 3 is scheduled tomorrow at the same venue. Petron Blaze took Game 1, 100-84, last Friday.
Even in the series-opener, the Mixers trooped the charity line 26 times as compared to the Boosters with 12 attempts. A total of 21 fouls were given to Petron while San Mig Coffee had seven fouls – three on Yancy de Ocampo, two on Joe Devance and one each to Marc Pingris and James Yap.
The seven fouls was a record low in a finals series.
Abanilla said that he’s not taking anything away from San Mig Coffee’s win. He said the Mixers played well and he blamed his boys for the loss. He said they lost their focus because of frustration over the fouls.
“We’re only human, it’s not my nature to be like this, but I got to make people know that we’re not approving to that. It’s also unfair to the players because they might get injured,” said the usually soft-spoken Abanilla.
Millsap lost to San Mig Coffee counterpart Marcus Blakely for the Best Import award, although he managed to produce another solid performance with 31 points and 10 rebounds.