Llamados gun for 2-0 tonight; Chot rues blown ‘gifts’By Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TALK ‘N TEXT coach Chot Reyes was utterly disgusted Monday night. And who wouldn’t be?
“That’s why they call it gift shots because they’re gifts,” Reyes said, moments after an 82-88 loss to B-Meg that gave the Llamados a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven series for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup. “They were gifts we refused to accept.”
Talk ‘N Text missed a total of 20 free throws in the game, and more than the loss, that’s what upset Reyes the most.
The defending champion Tropang Texters will come into today’s 6:45 p.m. game at Smart Araneta Coliseum pressured to win. Simple logic dictates that they cannot afford to sink into a 0-2 hole against the rock-solid Llamados.
“These guys (Texters) were playing basketball since they were wearing short pants,” Reyes said. “I can’t help them there. I can’t shoot free throws for them.”
B-Meg coach Tim Cone acknowledged that the team his Llamados beat Sunday night were not the same squad that dominated and qualified as the No. 1 side after the elimination round.
“They were not hitting shots like they normally do,” Cone said.
There were several “absent” players for Reyes in Game 1, like Jason Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo, who struggled to just five points each.
To B-Meg’s credit, the squad put it all together despite James Yap’s cold shooting hands. The former two-time MVP was good for only nine points in that game.
The big difference was Peter June Simon, who stepped up for the Llamados together with import Denzel Bowles.
B-Meg’s intense play probably surprised the Texters, with Bowles, Marc Pingris and Rafi Reavis dictating the tempo in the paint and Simon, JC Intal and Josh Urbiztondo playing heads-up up front.
Larry Fonacier also couldn’t come up with his usual contributions for the Texters. Coming into the game with a career-average of close to 90 percent from the free throw line, “Lucky Larry” missed two crucial free throws in the stretch.
In league history, 46 of the 66 teams that won Game 1 have gone on to win the championship series.