DESPITE its woeful record, Norman Black believes Air21 remains a very dangerous team.
And so, he expects his Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters to play solidly for 48 minutes when it collides with the Express Wednesday in the opening game of the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The reigning defending champion will try to book win no. 8 in 11 starts and a chance to catch up with idle Rain or Shine (8-3) at third place in their 5:45 p.m. encounter with the 2-9 Express.
“It’s a game where we have to play tough and maintain our focus,” admitted Black.
Talk ‘N Text hopes the revitalized play of come backing forward Kelly Williams can help the team contain Air21’s man-mountain center in Asi Taulava, who at 40, remains a solid force in the middle.
The 6-foot-10 Taulava is averaging 22 points and 16.6 rebounds in his last three games, including a career-tying 26 boards in the team’s 92-88 loss to Meralco on Sunday.
“Air21 is a much better team than its record indicates. We must do a good job on the boards to win the game.”
Talk ‘N Text scored a close 87-82 decision against Air21 during their December 22 matchup behind Jason Castro’s all-around game of 21 points, six rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Castro though got plenty of help from Ranidel de Ocampo who finished with 18 points spiked by four triples, while seldom-used guard Jai Reyes and Larry Fonacier chipped in 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Although coming off an overtime loss against the Bolts, the Express will try to sweep their last three games in the hope of grabbing at least the eighth and final spot in the playoffs.