Talk ‘N Text, Petron in key duel
MANILA—Petron Blaze and Talk ‘N Text break a 2-2 tie in their PBA Governors’ Cup title playoffs Wednesday with both coaches agreeing that Game 5 scheduled at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao will be the most crucial in the bruising series.
“With the series down to a best-of-three, whoever wins (today) will have a great advantage,” Petron coach Ato Agustin, whose squad came back from two crushing defeats with a remarkable series-tying effort in Game 4 Sunday, said in Filipino.
“The key for us is to be able to at least match their intensity, because they will surely come out hard because of what happened in Game 4,” Agustin continued. “We [also] need to take care of the ball better.”
Talk ‘N Text got blown off the court Sunday night, quite unexpected since the Texters were the ones pounding the undermanned Boosters to smithereens in the previous two games.
The stakes are definitely higher—and the pressure greater—for the Texters, who can immortalize themselves with another championship here and completing the league’s fifth Grand Slam.
And most experts thought that they have the advantage, not only because of the sheer firepower packed in their lineup, but also because Petron was missing key players and is actually down to 11 healthy men.
“In a series like this, it’s about whoever wants it more,” Talk ‘N Text’s coach Chot Reyes said. “It’s been 10 months and it’s been 70 games of high-level basketball for us and it’s taking its toll.
“They (Boosters) look a lot fresher than us,” Reyes continued.
Agustin has managed to rejuvenate former two-time MVP Danny Ildefonso, with the 6-foot-5 banger playing like he is in another MVP season. He knocked in the Game 1 clincher and had 10 points and 11 rebounds on Sunday.
“It’s now a best-of-three and as such, Game 1 is very important,” Reyes said. “We must rediscover our energy and desire. Otherwise they will be able to impose their pace on us.”
Import Anthony Grundy is also playing superbly as he has been able to plug not only holes in the Petron offense but on the other end as well as he has effectively shut down whoever defensive assignment he draws.
Scottie Reynolds must step up for the Texters if they are to avoid another upset, as most of Reyes’ top guns have been consistent save for himself and man-mountain Ali Peek.
Alex Cabagnot will again play a major role for the Boosters and if he plays at the level that he can, then Petron will be another formidable obstacle to conquer for the Texters in the 7:30 p.m. contest.
Ryan Reyes, Harvey Carey, Larry Fonacier, new MVP Jimmy Alapag and Jason Castro are the other vital cogs of Talk ‘N Text.