PBA: ALASKA VS COKE AT PHILSPORTS TODAY, WINNER TAKES ALL

MANILA, August 23, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Two themes will be in focus tonight ó having the shots and having the heart.

Days after bungling their first crack at the Samsung PBA Invitational Cup championship, Coca-Cola coach Chot Reyes still feels finding their range and making the shots are the key in winning the title.

Alaska coach Tim Cone, on the other hand, thinks itís not so much being the better team, rather playing better to win the August joust.

The Coca-Cola Tigers and the Alaska Aces clash in the deciding game of their best-of-three title showdown at 6 p.m. today at the Philsports Arena.

Alaska forced a sudden death by taking advantage of Coca-Colaís atrocious shooting in pulling off a 78-76 decision in overtime Wednesday. The Aces survived 30 turnovers as they watched the Tigers shoot 31.5 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from the stripe.

Reyes likened his team to a golfer who could belt 300-yard drive but couldnít make the putt.

"I think the problem is more mental. Itís a matter of (my players) putting themselves in a mental frame na kumpiyansang ipasok ang tira. We studied the tape (of Game Two), 45 percent of the shots we took were open. Getting the open shot is the function of team offense but making the shot belongs to the individual," said Reyes.

"Hindi namin problema ang depensa dahil 21 percent lang ang open shots na ibinigay namin sa Alaska. Hindi rin problema ang opensa dahil nakakakuha kami ng open shots. Ang problema namin ay ang umoopensa," Reyes added.

The Tigers did well in shooting practice Thursday and Friday but Reyes remained wary of their offense.

"Madaling mag-shoot sa ensayo, mahirap kapag game na," he said.

"Thatís been our problem the whole year. At the end of the day, yan ang naging problema namin against Talk n Text (in the All-Filipino finals)," he added, recalling their shooting which dropped to 34 percent after winning the first two games of their title duel with the Phone Pals.

Cone, on the other hand, said that the odds would be about even since "we have the height and Coca-Cola has the quickness so the team which plays better, which has the heart, will win the championship."

He added: "We will be a more confident team out there. Our victory last Wednesday shot our confidence up. It wasnít a pretty win but in that win, we showed our commitment to each other. The efforts we showed I hope would augur well in this do-or-die game."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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