MANILA, Philippines — Air21’s fortified roster forged a 106-102 victory over sputtering Talk N’ Text Friday in the PBA Governors’ Cup in Asi Taulava’s return to the league and Joseph Yeo’s debut with the Express.
Head coach Franz Pumaren said the Express’ inspired play, which led to snapping a four-game losing skid, must’ve been due to the crucial tweaks to their lineup midway in the conference.
“Overall, we played really well for the first time. I think we’re inspired by the sudden shakeup in our line-up,” said Pumaren at the press room at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
Nino Cañaleta churned out import-like numbers for the Express with 30 points and five rebounds while reinforcement Zach Graham added 27 points and 11 rebounds.
Taulava, who returned to the PBA after aiding San Miguel in its conquest of the Asean Basketball League crown, finished with seven marks but chipped in nine rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
The Express tied with the Texters, who still could not find its groove, at the bottom of the standings with a 2-5 card.
Import Tony Mitchell had 27 points, nine rebounds and two assists for Talk N’ Text, which found itself on a three-game slide.
Air21 106 – Cañaleta 30, Graham 27, Custodio 12, Manuel 10, Menor 7, Taulava 7, Atkins 4, Sharma 4, Yeo 3, Salamat 2, Burtscher 0.
Talk N’ Text 102 – Mitchell 27, De Ocampo 19, Anthony 16, Castro 12, Alapag 10, Fonacier 8, Carey 5, Peek 4, Al-Hussaini 1, Aban 0.
Quarters: 22-19, 49-52, 75-75, 106-102