The fun now begins for Norman Black when defending champion Talk ‘N Text shoots for a 2-0 lead against Rain or Shine today in their best-of-seven championship series in the PBA Philippine Cup at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
After masterfully guiding the Tropang Texters to an 87-81 win in the series opener Wednesday, Black will try to send rival coach Yeng Guiao and his Elasto Painters in a deep 0-2 hole in their 6:45 encounter.
“This is where the fun begins for the coaches,” Black told reporters after Game 1, where the Texters roared to an early 18-point lead and then weathered a furious last-quarter rally by the Painters. “Yeng will adjust and I will have to figure out what those adjustments will be. We know they can bounce back.”
“We don’t have expectations of beating them by a big margin,” added Black. “You’re playing Rain or Shine and they are a very tough team. If we can beat them by half a point, we’ll take it.”
Talk ‘N Text is trying to become the first team in 30 years to win the tournament for the third straight year, and as far as Guiao is concerned, the Painters are capable of spoiling the record attempt.
“I’m still very confident and very positive about our chances. It’s just the first game,” Guiao said Wednesday. “The stats, the numbers will indicate that we beat them in most departments other than our three-point shooting. We made six more triples, and that’s 18 points right there. That’s still a positive sign for us.”
Rain or Shine had six fewer attempts than the Texters’ 27 from rainbow territory and Talk ‘N Text converted 10, including one from Larry Fonacier that doused water on the last of the Elasto Painters’ spirited end-game charge.
“As badly as we played, I think we still had a chance to win this game in the fourth quarter,” Guiao said. “That’s all we want to do, to hang around, and be able to grind out some wins.
“Problem was, we started out badly in the first quarter and had to work our way back in the game,” he said. The whole series is going to be a relentless running game for both teams.”
Rain or Shine won the assists battle, 22-21, shot better from two-point zone with 40 percent, had nine more second-chance and fastbreak points and had five fewer turnovers.