Talk N’ Text will go for speed and scoring while sacrificing size today when it unveils a shorter import against Barangay Ginebra in the third game of their deadlocked PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four series at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tony Mitchell replaces the 7-foot Jerome Jordan in the 7:30 p.m. clash with the Gin Kings, with coach Norman Black pointing to the loss of two guards to injuries in recent days as the reason for the change.
With former MVP Jimmy Alapag out of Game 3 and Jared Dillinger sidelined for the rest of the year, Black is hoping that Mitchell will be able to put numbers on the board which Jordan couldn’t do.
That leaves the Texters with the tough task, though, of handling Ginebra’s energetic Vernon Macklin on defense.
“How we defend Macklin will be our No. 1 concern,” Black said. “All of our bigs will have to step up and need to have solid team (effort in) defense and rebounding.
“On the other hand, we will have to find out quickly how we can use the offensive skills of Mitchell. He has a reputation of being an explosive scorer.”
Mitchell, who stands just 6 feet 5, was not supposed to arrive in the country until August for the third conference.
In the quarterfinal series with Petron Blaze, Jordan averaged just 11 points and five rebounds, but Black’s locals picked up the slack and Talk ‘N Text swept the Boosters, 2-0.
With Macklin giving his teammates all the confidence they needed against Talk ‘N Text, Ginebra blew the Texters away in Game 1.
Alapag will be out for at least one game after injuring his right calf in practice for Gilas-Pilipinas in Davao last Friday, while Dillinger has a broken pelvic bone sustained in a car accident more than two weeks ago.
Mark Caguioa, the reigning MVP, will also sit out today’s double-header because of a knee injury. His return will be decided on this Friday when his therapy and rehab are concluded.
Meanwhile, James Yap will play through the pain of a bulging disc when the defending champion San Mig Coffee mixes up with Alaska in the other series that is also tied at 1-all.
That game is slated at 5:15 p.m.