MANILA, Philippines—B-Meg and Talk ‘N Text, the top two squads after the elimination phase of the PBA Philippine Cup, try to seal their respective places in the semifinals when they battle lower-ranked foes at the start of the playoffs Wednesday.
The Llamados, the No. 1 seed, take the Smart Araneta Coliseum floor first at 7:30 p.m. against a youthful Powerade side that is seeing action in this stage for the first time in the last eight conferences.
Defending champion Talk ‘N Text then battles dangerous, veterans-filled Barako Bull in the 5:15 p.m. game, needing just a win to advance to the last four like the Llamados.
The B-Meg-Powerade tussle will feature James Yap and Gary David, the tournament’s leading scorers, and pundits say whichever team backs up its superstar better will come out the winner.
When the Powerade offense is in top gear, the Tigers have proven to be very hard to stop. The Tigers ran over Talk ‘N Text in the elimination round by 35 points.
But the Llamados seem to have a more formidable arsenal with the likes of Joe Devance, Kerby Raymundo, Marc Pingris and Peter June Simon at Tim Cone’s disposal.
Cone turns 54 today and would like nothing less than a victory to be able to take the B-Meg closer to a title series stint.
Of equal interest is the Talk ‘N Text-Barako Bull match as it pits sides with diverse characteristics. The Texters thrives in the run-and-gun game while the Energy have proven to be the most deliberate squad in the lot owing to their core of veteran battlers.
The Texters might welcome back Ali Peek today, giving Chot Reyes’ crew added muscle inside to battle Barako Bull’s hulking slotmen like Dorian Peña and Mick Pennisi.
Peek will see action for the first time since the shooting incident where an assassin left him with a slug of a 22-caliber in the neck.
The winner of the B-Meg-Powerade series will advance to face the victor of the Ginebra-Rain or Shine series, a best-of-three affair that starts Friday, also at the Big Dome in Cubao.
Whoever comes out on top of the Talk ‘N Text-Barako Bull match-up, on the other hand, will draw the winner of the Petron Blaze-Meralco series.