BARAKO Bull may be off to a flying start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, but the Energy can’t afford to take things easy especially as they will have no less than Talk `N Text for their next assignment Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Energy will go to the 4 p.m. encounter carrying a surprising unblemished record of 3-0.
But against the Tropang Texters, coach Koy Banal said the Energy have to double their effort if they intend to stretch their winning run to four and grab a share of the lead with fellow unbeaten teams Meralco and defending champion Purefoods.
“Kami naman, we just can’t afford to relax and lose focus kasi, we’ll be going up against Talk ‘N Text, which plays at a very high level,” Banal said.
The Energy have beaten expansion teams Blackwater (92-70) and KIA Motors (95-86), though the biggest surprise of all was their 69-68 conquest of Barangay Ginebra in Binan, Laguna.
Banal said Talk ‘N Text’s armada of gunners led by Jayson Castro, Larry Fonacier, Jay Washington and free-agent pick-up and former Barako Bull stalwart Willie Miller are capable of exploding at any given time of the game.
“Sila Jayson, Larry, Jay Wash, pati si Willie, na galing sa amin dati, lahat sila kayang pumutok kaya nga nakakatakot 'yang team na iyan. So we really need to step up on our defense,” he added.
The Tropang Texters will be coming into the game with a banged-up roster.
Ranidel de Ocampo, the team’s veteran forward, will be playing with a nasal fracture, which he suffered two weeks ago against Blackwater.
Defensive ace Ryan Reyes though will still be out for another two or three weeks due to an Achilles injury, while Kelly Williams remains in sickbay.
Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico said beating Barako Bull requires a consistent effort, well aware the Energy have been playing well under Banal.
“They (Energy) are 3-0 now and that’s because they are playing very well, that’s why we have to step up our game defensively,” said Uichico, whose team is coming off a 91-83 loss to sister team Meralco last week.