Texters declare war, eye series equalizerBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ANTIPOLO—Chot Reyes has declared war. Literally, that is.
“We need to fight back—literally,” Reyes said on the eve of Game 2 of his Talk ‘N Text crew’s Final Four match-up with Barako Bull as the Tropang Texters, the defending Commissioner’s Cup champions, try to avert going into a 0-2 hole at the Ynares Center here.
“We need to defend their two MVPs—(Ronald) Tubid and (Wynne) Arboleda. Self defense that is,” Reyes continued. “They’re hell bent on decimating our lineup. (Kelly) Williams is out with a fractured cheek bone because of Tubid.
“Jason Castro got a poke in the eye from Arboleda,” he pointed out, a day after the veterans-filled Energy pulled out an upset 84-76 victory for a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five series.
Tubid could be out for tonight’s 6:45 p.m. game because of a left shoulder injury he sustained after diving for a looseball.
Arboleda, on the other hand, hurt the Texters in more ways than what Reyes said after draining two critical triples in the fourth period that actually keyed the victory by the underdog Energy.
“We have to be ready because they (Texters) are not a champion team for nothing,” Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi said after the win. “We caught them on their off-night.”
Talk ‘N Text actually shot atrociously from the floor on Tuesday, going 33 percent for the night, quite uncharacteristic for the powerhouse side that has dominated the league this decade.
“That’s not them,” Baculi said.
Jimmy Alapag, the reigning MVP was scoreless on Tuesday and the usual big and loaded guns for the Texters, aside from Castro, had a hard time offensively.
Not to take anything away from the Energy—they controlled the tempo of the game, making the series-opener to their liking as their aged nucleus was able to stand toe-to-toe against the Texters.
The run-and-gun play that has characterized Talk ‘N Text was nowhere to be found, and Reyes should exhaust all means for his Texters to play that way again, otherwise, they would be in real trouble.
Gabriel Freeman was a spark for the Energy, as well as Willie Miller and Danny Seigle.
Seigle was awesome offensively, and the Energy got a boost from Dorian Peña, another veteran of many championship wars who contributed 11 points, 12 rebounds and a lot of muscle underneath.