The AirAsia ASEAN Basketball Finals goes to a decisive game for the first time in league history. In Seasons 1 and 2, The AirAsia Philippine Patriots and Chang Thailand Slammers respectively won the ABL title by sweeping their opponents. This Saturday however, San Miguel Beermen and Indonesia Warriors will lay everything on the line to capture the 2012 ABL title.
The Beermen took Game 1 of the series 86-83 two weeks ago but the Warriors defeated the Beermen 81-61 in Game 2 of the series last Saturday, forcing a Game 3 to be played. Despite the big win, Warriors’ Head Coach Todd Purves is not expecting a walk in the park. “I expect the game to go down to the wire. Well, we are going to have to play our best basketball of the year to get a win,” said Purves about Game 3, which will be held at the Beermen’s homecourt, Ynares Sports Arena in the Philippines.
The Warriors got their usual numbers from Evan Brock who finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds while Stanley Pringle added 13 points. Coach Purves made a conscious effort to give more minutes to his bench who responded by scoring 24 points. Jerick Canada had 9 points and Arki Dikania Wisnu chipped in 7 points off the Warriors’ bench.
“We’ve made some minor adjustments, including keeping some fresh legs down the stretch. We need the full 40 minutes to beat this team because in Game 1, we played a good 35 minutes and lost the game,” said Coach Purves who has just won the ABL Coach of the Year 2012 award.
Beermen’s Head Coach Bobby Parks believes something positive will come out from this loss. “Sometimes when you lose by three, it’s not a wakeup call to the players, who might think ‘oh, that was close and we could have still won.’ But when you get drubbed like this, 20 points, now there’s a tendency for pride to come into play and you have to bounce back because they really beat us, we were out of the game totally,” said Coach Parks.
The Beermen was held to 39% shooting and was outrebounded 37-21. Duke Crews led the Beermen with 16 points and Leo Avenido followed with 13 points. Nick Fazekas had 6 early points but he was a non-factor in the rest of the game and finished with 10 points.
Coach Parks hopes his team will bounce back and execute better in Game 3. “We’ve got to bounce back, we have no choice. I’ve got confidence in these guys. The most important thing is we execute and follow the game plan.”