TNT, Petron dispute ‘title’ in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals | Inquirer Sports

TNT, Petron dispute ‘title’ in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 08:02 PM December 30, 2011

Alex Cabagnot releaseas a floater over Jason Castro. Photo by Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines—Talk N’ Text against Petron Blaze in the other half of the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup’s Final Four is being described even by the league’s media arm as the “championship before the championship.”

The hype fits because it pits squads owned by two of the wealthiest men in the land who have assembled the most talent-laden, superstar-studded rosters in the league which not only will battle it out for hardcourt supremacy, but for corporate bragging rights as well.

With Petron Blaze spoiling the grand slam bid of Talk ‘N Text last season, many expect the Tropang Texters to use redemption as their battle cry against the Boosters when their best-of-seven series starts Jan. 5 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.

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But TNT coach Chot Reyes has an entirely different view of the titanic duel.

“It’s not about redemption,” emphasized the multi-titled drillmaster. “Our motivation springs from our desire to be the best we can be. It comes from within.”

But there’s no denying that Reyes is raring to get back at the Boosters, who denied the Texters the chance to become just the fourth franchise in league history to complete a sweet sweep of all three titles for the year while playing as underdogs in a championship series.

In a Game 7 that the Boosters dominated, Petron bagged last season’s Governors’ Cup and spoiled what would have been the greatest moment of the Manny V. Pangilinan-owned franchise in the PBA.

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Petron pulled out the feat despite being severely undermanned and with Talk ‘N Text bannered by a roster that could pass for two all-star teams.

Jimmy Alapag, who was subsequently named the MVP last season, has an entirely different view in the coming series. Or maybe he is more honest in saying what he truly feels.

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“This is a great opportunity for us to have our payback,” Alapag, who has been in and out of the injured list in the tournament, said. “This gives us a chance to beat Petron. But Petron definitely has a lot of talented players and has a very good coach.”

Like in the Governors’ Cup Finals, Petron will again come into this series with a losing record against the Texters for the tournament, 0-2, even if Talk ‘N Text has played majority of the elimination round without the benefit of a complete lineup.

That’s why Reyes and his boys welcomed the holiday break that’s about to end, as they needed to rest battered bodies more than anything else.

“Our option right now is to get healthy,” said Alapag as injuries to Jason Castro, Ryan Reyes, Jared Dillinger, Ranidel De Ocampo, Aaron Aban and Ali Peek hounded the squad.

Rain or Shine and surprising Powerade are in the other semifinal pairing, and whoever comes out the winner will face the winner of the other matchup as definite underdog.

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That series starts on Jan. 4, also at the Cuneta Astrodome.

TAGS: Aaron Aban, Ali Peek, Chot Reyes, Jared Dillinger, Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, PBA Philippine Cup, Petron Blaze Boosters, Ranidel De Ocampo, Ryan Reyes, Sports, Talk N Text Tropang Texters

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