PETRON Blaze Coach Ato Agustin believes his team has forgotten the lessons learned from a very bitter experience and stumbled big-time anew.
Agustin is now left hoping his Boosters have learned to avoid such bumps when they take on the Alaska Aces Wednesday in a crucial PBA Commissioner's Cup match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"Hindi na puwedeng magkamali pa from tomorrow's game hanggang sa matapos ang eliminations," said Agustin on the eve of the match.
A win would push either Petron or Alaska out of a share of fifth and a more comfortable slot going to the stretch of the sprint-like qualification round that offers little room for errors since it is only a nine-game phase.
"Kailangan talagang manalo, para kahit paaano stay kami sa gitna ng top six," noted Agustin. "Isang talo lang kasi dito, ang laki ng laglag mo."
For his team to achieve its immediate goal, the tactician added, they must remember to bear in mind and take to heart the experiences gained from their most recent debacle, an 88-98 loss to Powerade last Saturday in Legazpi City.
Against the Tigers, the Boosters gave up a conference-high 41 points in the first quarter and 66 points at the half, mostly due to the Tigers' torrid shooting and fluid transition game. When they finally got their defensive groove going, they managed to whittle what was once a 30-point deficit. But by then it was too late as they would come no closer than eight.
"Iyung laro namin sa second half, nu'ng na-limit namin sila to just 32 points, iyun talaga ang laro namin," said Agustin.
The loss was eerily similar to an earlier one against Meralco, when Petron was repeatedly beaten in transition.
A last-second defeat to Ginebra in their opening assignment does not count for Agustin. Their latest downfall is tops in his books. "Parang hindi natuto mula doon sa Meralco game," he pointed out.
Now comes Alaska, which is also aiming to bounce back from an 85-88 loss to Air21 last Friday, a shock defeat that still smarts and could only be soothed by a win over Petron.
To completely elude the axe, Agustin has laid out some basic premises on his overall gameplan.
"Kailangan lang good start at extra effort, especially from the bench, lalo na sa transition defense," said Agustin. "Kailangan ding i-maintain namin ang aggressiveness sa both ends para ma-contain namin sina (LA) Tenorio, (Cyrus) Baguio, (Sonny Thoss and (import Adam) Parada."
Alaska is also expected to go all-out to avoid the listless start it had against Air21.