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    Canaleta, Express left to rue wasted opportunity

    Apr 11, 2013
    Nino Canaleta's 14 fourth-quarter points can't save Air21 from falling to a third straight defeat. Jerome Ascano

    WHAT a difference a month can make.

    After putting together a four-game winning streak over a two-week span, Air21 suddenly found itself on a three-game slide two weeks, seriously dampening the team’s bid for a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

    The latest Express setback came Wednesday night at the hands of defending champion San Mig Coffee, 66-80, in a game that put to naught the 14-point fourth-quarter explosion of hotshot forward KG Canaleta.

    “Sayang `yung mga ganyang games,” said the many-time slam dunk champion who rued the Express’ failure to take care of business in their last three outings.

    Canaleta finished with 26 points including four three-pointers, but sub-par performances from other locals and the calf muscle injury sustained by point guard Mike Cortez weighed down the Express.

    The latest loss put the Express in a critical position of missing the playoffs, while giving closest pursuer Barako Energy Cola a new lease on life in the race for the final quarterfinals berth.

    As things stand now, Air21 (5-8) holds a one game edge over Barako Bull (4-8). The Express have one game left against Petron, while the Energy Cola still have two remaining assignments in Rain or Shine and lowly Globalport.

    It’s a situation Air21 coach Franz Pumaren hates.

    “Ako, I’ve never been dependent on other teams. We just have to take care of our business. This (situation) is beyond our control right now. I’d rather be in a position where we can control (our situation),” he said.

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    Nino Canaleta's 14 fourth-quarter points can't save Air21 from falling to a third straight defeat. Jerome Ascano
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