HELP is on the way for Talk ’N Text as three of its four players from Gilas Pilipinas see action for the first
time in the PBA Governors Cup when the Texters collide with the struggling Meralco Bolts on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jason Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo and Larry Fonacier, who all played big roles for Fiba Asia runner-up Gilas Pilipinas, rejoin the squad for the Texters’ 5:15 p.m. match against the Bolts.
Talk ’N Text coach Norman Black had to work on a lean manpower during the team’s first two games, which the team split for a win-loss 1-1 card, relying heavily on import Tony Mitchell and newly-acquired forward Sean Anthony for offense.
The 6-foot-5 Mitchell averaged 43 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals in 42.5 minutes. On the other hand, Anthony has been the team’s top local contributor with averages 22 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 3.5 steals.
With three of the four Gilas players back — playmaker Jimmy Alapag is still on vacation — Black expects huge improvements as he gets them better reacquainted with the team’s system, while easing the load on Mitchell and Anthony.
“Now, the goal is to try and improve our game and get some wins. Like everyone else, the goal is to aim for the playoff advantage by finishing in the top half of the standings,” Black said.
The Bolts won their conference opener 89-83 against Petron but suffered an 89-90 defeat to Barako Bull two Sundays ago before bowing to Barangay Ginebra, 85-98.
Head coach Ryan Gregorio acknowledges the struggle.
“We’re trying to find ways to get back on track. It’s tough because we are having a hard time scoring especially with (Macmac) Cardona and (Jared) Dillinger not yet ready to play,” said Gregorio.
Aside from that, the Bolts have been the subject of a reported trade involving the injured Cardona and fellow La Salle alumnus and Air21 Express playmaker Mike Cortez.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio has refused to discuss the trade rumors as the team tries to keep its focus on the ongoing Governors Cup campaign.
So far, Cardona is still out of commission due to an injured calf, while Dillinger, the 6-foot-4 Fil-American whom the Bolts got during the conference break, is still about a month away from playing since figuring in a car accident last summer.