TALK `N Text coach Norman Black doesn’t mind losing a bit of the momentum his team gained following its rousing 85-79 win over Barangay Ginebra Sunday night as the PBA Commissioner’s Cup playoffs takes a one-week break to give way for the coming All-Star weekend.
Black said he’s looking forward to the nine-day layoff as a perfect opportunity for his Tropang Texters to rest their aching bodies and for some, to recuperate from their respective injuries.
The All-Star festivity is set from May 1-6 in Digos City, after which the two semifinals series resumes on May 8.
“That will probably help us more than hurt us, mainly because I expected Ali Peek to be back when we continue the series,” said Black moments after the Texters tied the best-of-five series at one-game apiece at the Big Dome.
Peek is out with an injured knee, while Kelly Williams (blood disorder) and Jared Dillinger (who hurt his hip after figuring in a vehicular mishap) are both out of the conference.
Black said at the same time, the layoff will also benefit Ginebra which also have a slew of players on the injury list led by reigning league MVP Mark Caguioa.
“But at the same time, I’m sure Billy Mamaril and maybe Mark Caguioa might be back also, in addition to Rudy Hatfield,” said Black of the three key Ginebra players.
Mamaril is still recuperating from a fractured right hand, Caguioa has yet to fully recover from the MCL sprain he suffered early in the conference, while Hatfield sprained his left ankle in Game One of the semifinals.
“So I think it will benefit both teams because both of us have injuries to key players. It (break) will give us a chance to heal up our players and be at better strength when we come back and continue this series,” said Black.
But then again, at least seven Talk `N Text players are in the Gilas Pilipinas training pool that will see action during the All-Star game against a selection of PBA players.
With Williams and Dillinger out with injuries, among those expected to suit up for Gilas Pilipinas are Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Ryan Reyes.
“So instead of a break, it’s gonna be work,” said the Talk `N Text coach.
“Hopefully we can pace them as much as possible and make sure that when they come back in the series for Game Three, they will still be fresh.”