Talk ‘n Text welcomes back three of its national team standouts today when it battles sister squad Meralco even as Barako Bull shoots for a third straight win and a piece of the PBA Governors’ Cup lead at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Larry Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo and Jason Castro will suit up in the 5:15 p.m. contest, giving the Tropang Texters added teeth against one of the tournament’s most dangerous sides.
Only former MVP Jimmy Alapag—the fourth Texter in the silver medal-finishing Gilas Pilipinas squad in the Fiba Asia Championship earlier this month—asked for more time to rest and will rejoin the team next week.
Coach Norman Black is only too happy that he will finally have a near-complete team playing their final seven games of the eliminations.
“They have definitely raised the level of the game in our practices (since Tuesday),” Black told the Inquirer. “But you never know what can happen in a game. Our goal is to try and improve our game and get some wins.
“Like everyone else (in the field), the aim is to gain playoff advantage by finishing in the top half of the standings.”
Talk ‘N Text is at 1-1 and will be coming off its only loss as the Tropang Texers struggled to find offensive backups for Tony Mitchell and Ryan Reyes. That setback was a lopsided one at the hands of the idle San Mig Coffee Mixers.
Meanwhile, the Energy, off to one of their finest starts in recent years, are given an even chance to pick up a third straight win in their clash with the Ging Kings at 7:30 p.m.
Ginebra is fresh off a 98-85 win over Meralco, in a game where LA Tenorio led the victors with a career-high 34 points.
Tenorio will also test the mettle of Barako Bull point guard Eman Monfort, the 5-foot-6 rookie out of Ateneo who has been one of the keys in the Energy’s two-game winning streak.
Monfort will come into the game averaging 17 points, and his match-up with Tenorio—also a former Ateneo ace—could prove to be an interesting sidelight in the nightcap.