Call this a “deep” series.
Rain or Shine, a squad laden with hard-working talents, and Talk ‘N Text, a side loaded with high-profile stars, start their best-of-seven series for the PBA Philippine Cup today at Smart Araneta Coliseum with both teams prepared to go the distance.
On paper, the defending champion Tropang Texters have the edge, but the emergence of the Elasto Painters as the league’s new powerhouse with a lineup that works best when faced with tall odds makes them a solid threat.
Game 1 is slated at 6:45 p.m. and both are expected to come out with high-octane energy owing to a five-day break after wrapping up their separate semifinal series last Friday.
Rain or Shine will be shooting for a second straight title in as many Finals appearances, while the Texters are trying to win this event three straight seasons and become the first squad in 30 years to do so.
Not since the defunct Crispa Redmanizers in 1982 has a squad dominated the all-Filipino. The Redmanizers, then bannered by the legendary Bogs Adornado, Atoy Co, Philip Cezar and Abet Guidaben, won in 1978, 1979 and 1982.
There were no all-Filipinos in 1980-81 when the league accommodated foreign teams into its calendar.
Coach Yeng Guiao is shooting to win his first all-Filipino championship after two botched attempts, the last coming in 2006 when he was still calling the shots for Red Bull.
“It’s extra motivation,” Guiao said. “But for this team, there’s no one person chasing one goal. It’s all of us out there. We will all enjoy this, because this is also the first all-Filipino championship series for the entire squad.”
Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black has a Grand Slam title with San Miguel in 1989 and is one of the winningest coaches in the league with 10 titles.
Most everyone has labelled the Texters as the favorites, and Black sees it just that: a label.
“If we’re the favorites, then so be it, we still have to beat them four times,” Black said last Monday during the launch of the title series.