MANILA, Philippines – As far as being in championship form is concerned, head coach Norman Black admits that Talk N’ Text is “not there yet.”
But any worry is far from Black’s mind this early even as the Texters opened the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup with a seven-point setback to Meralco, and a squeaker of a win over Air 21.
“At this point, it’s about getting back to that level we’re at during [the] All Filipino [Cup] — we’re not there yet,” Black told INQUIRER.net.
“But we’ll get there,” Black assured.
The powerhouse Texters had no answer to Air21’s hot shooting from downtown and although they squandered a 22-point lead, they managed to bag their first win, 86-83, of the conference.
“A win is a win, that’s all that really matters to me. Of course I’m not happy about losing a big lead,” said Black.
Import Keith Benson knocked down 30 points and notched 18 rebounds while Ranidel De Ocampo and Jared Dillinger led the locals with 19 and 14 markers, respectively.
Jayson Castro and Larry Fonacier offered five points apiece while Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams finished scoreless.
But even with the rough start, Black knows that the Texers’ reputation as a champion squad precedes them.
“At this point of the season, coming off a championship, I don’t think anyone could question whether we have a good team or not anymore, or whether we could play well or not,” said Black.
And most roads to improving in an import-laden conference such as this begins at one thing — the reinforcement on deck.
After showing how much damage he can do inside the paint, Benson will need to stay inside the court and out of foul trouble.
“It was better than the first game,” said Black of the 24-year-old Benson, who also had two steals, two blocks and four fouls in 36 minutes.
“I’m just worried about his ability to stay out of foul trouble. Everytime he gets into foul trouble, it hurts our defense. That’s something we need to work on. I’m still evaluating him,” added Black.
The Texters next face GlobalPort, which totes a 2-1 record, on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.