ONE could say that San Miguel Beer is more like the award-winning actor who is always a cinch to win the next award.
TNT KaTropa, on the other hand, is the young guy who impressed in a cameo role enough to earn him a lead role in a movie.
PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa welcomed the breath of fresh air brought by the Texters, who are out to spoil the Beermen’s Grand Slam bid when the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals unfold on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Beermen are in the finals for the fifth time in eight conferences and are eager to grab their 24th PBA championship overall to further cement their status as the league’s most successful team.
“Sabi ko kay boss Robert (Non) tsaka kay coach Leo (Austria), nakakasawa na kayo dito,” Narvasa said in jest as he opened the press launch of the finals on Monday noon at Sambokojin Eastwood. “Sabi ko ever since dumating ako andito lagi kayo. Mabuti pa yung iba, laging iba.”
“Hopefully third conference iba na yung katabi ko,” he added. “That gives also the other fans from other teams (a reason) to watch the PBA already. So I'm glad now we have Talk 'N Text here. It's only good for the PBA to have new actors in the finals.”
The Texters are making a return to this stage of the playoffs after two years of absence, reaching the finals for the first time in seven conferences or since the 2015 edition of the midseason tournament where they went on to win the title.
Coming off a Philippine Cup conquest, the Beermen insist they’re as motivated as ever.
“Sabi ni Kom nakakasawa na, pero kami hindi nagsasawa eh,” Non, the SMB governor, said. “Kumbaga sa kanta, sana maulit muli. Muli’t-muli, gusto namin nandito sa finals, kasi that’s what the guys are working for: to be the best, ‘di ba?”
After all, the Beermen haven’t been at their best in recent editions of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, where they haven’t been to since the 2001 edition of the midseason tournament.
“So hopefully this second conference finals, mag-iba naman yung swerte namin,” Non said. “Sinwerte kami dun sa series against Star, hopefully mas maganda yung swerte sa finals.”
After Alaska tried thrice and failed, and Ginebra also sought to do the same in the last Philippine Cup Finals, it’s now the Texters’ turn to try to their luck against the mighty Beermen.
“We are the underdogs here,” TNT manager Virgil Villavicencio said. “As you can see, we’re going against a very strong team, but ang motto is: ‘Tama na, sobra na, KaTropa na.’”
Whoever has the role of favorites and underdogs, Narvasa expects an exciting series between them.
“To both teams, I wish them both good luck and I know it’s going to be a dogfight for both teams,” the league commissioner said. “I’m looking forward to this.”