PBA: San Mig's Barroca staying positive, confident for Game 7
MANILA, Philippines – Mark Barroca of the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers is anything but worried for their Game 7 tussle with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the PLDT Home DSL Philippine Cup.
In fact, despite losing Game 6 of their best-of-7 semifinals affair by just 3 points, 94-91, Barroca was still all smiles, saying that he's confident they can handle Game 7.
"Positive lang. Confident lang going into Game 7," he told Rappler. (I'm just staying positive. Just confident going into Game 7.)
"May Game 7 naman, makakapag-adjust," he added. (There's a Game 7, we can still adjust.)
The 5-foot-10 playmaker has been one of the most consistent players for coach Tim Cone all season long. He also been vital in the Mixers' wins throughout the semifinal series against Barangay Ginebra. More specifically, his backcourt tandem with rookie guard Justin Melton has been an effective ploy to neutralize Ginebra and their bigs. READ: One last game: Ginebra, San Mig clash tonight for finals trip
Barroca, according to pba-online.net, has averaged 12.5 points, 5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.83 steals for the entire Philippine Cup semifinals.
Looking at Game 6, Barroca says their lapses came in the pivotal fourth quarter when they sagged and became stagnant on defense.
"Nag-collapse lang kami nung huling quarter. Amin na dapat," he explained. "Nagmamadali kami. Mga little things sa offense namin na si Pingris umaatake tapos yung iba nakatayo lang, yung walang bola. Dapat lahat gumagalaw pa rin para yung defense hindi makaka-react."
(We collapsed during the last quarter. It should've been ours. We were trying to do things too quickly. Little things in our offense like when Pingris attacks and everyone else is just standing there, those of us without the ball. Everyone should be moving so the defense cannot react.)
That weaker defense allowed Ginebra to succeed in their fightback behind veteran Mark Caguioa, who shot the game-winning free throws with 16.2 seconds remaining, as Greg Slaughter finished the job with another pair of freebies in the dying seconds.
Everything will be on the line in Game 7 on Wednesday, February 12 as Barroca and the Mixers look to finish off their rivals and enter the Finals for the second straight conference. Should they win, they will be facing a well-rested Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who defeated their semifinal opponents Petron Blaze Boosters in 5 games.
Asked if the long semifinal series is taking its toll on him or the team, the 27-year-old squared his shoulders and flashed a smile again, saying he's not feeling fatigue. And even if they make it to the Finals, he assures that his team will show an all new kind of energy--one that comes simply with the fact that it's the Finals.
"Ako as a player, okay lang ako. Fresh pa rin legs ko," he said. "Ayoko i-down yung sarili ko. Talo kami pero masaya pa rin ako." (For me, as a player, I'm okay. My legs are still fresh. I don't want to put myself down. We lost (Game 6) but I'm still happy.)
For Game 7, Barroca says the Mixers will be relying on their depth of experience when it comes to knockout games.
"Marami na kaming pinagdaanan na knockout games," he said of his team who won the previous Governor's Cup title in a grueling 7-game series barely 4 months earlier. "Masarap kasi doon na ibibigay yung lahat ng natitirang percent sa amin."
(We went through a lot of knockout games. It's great because that's when we'll give every percent we have left in us.)
The one day breather to look at their Game 6 loss and strategize against Ginebra for Game 7 will also not deter him or his teammates.
And instead of feeling anxious or pressured, Barroca appears to be welcoming the challenge of yet another win-or-go-home game.
"Sabi ko kay PJ (Simon), masarap maglaro ng Game 7. Do or die game. Marami na experience namin diyan eh. Confident kami going into Game 7." (I told PJ, it's nice to play in a Game 7. Do or die game. We've had plenty of experience with that. We are confident going into Game 7.)