NORMAN Black made it simple in explaining why Talk ‘N Text lost its PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals series against Barangay Ginebra - injuries to key players.
“It (series) became a little bit difficult because we lost so many players,” Black said after emerging from the team dugout following the Tropang Texters' 103-111 loss to the Kings in their do-or-die game on Sunday night.
"Well, we lost Kelly Williams, our starting center. We lost Ranidel de Ocampo, starting power forward. We lost Jimmy Alapag, our starting point guard, and we lost Jared Dillinger, our starting small forward."
The 6-foot-5 De Ocampo failed to play in the deciding Game Five match due to a sore right calf. He joined Williams (recurring blood disorder) and Dillinger (injured pelvic) in the sidelines.
Without De Ocampo, Black was forced to start seldom-used forward John Ferriols to take on 6-foot-10 Ginebra import Vernon Macklin.
Ferriols and man-mountain Ali Peek alternated in defending Macklin, but both players couldn’t contain the former Florida Gator center who finished with 22 points and 20 rebounds in another monster performance.
At the same time, fielding in a new import in Tony Mitchell may have been a big gamble on the part of Talk `N Text as the team sacrificed height for perimeter scoring.
“Well, we knew the circumstances. We want to bring him (Mitchell) in for the third conference, which is what we still want to do,” explained the multi-titled PBA mentor of the move to replace the towering Jerome Jordan.
“We had our plan in place on what to accomplish, but we were losing players to injuries. When we saw him in practice, we were happy. But he’ll probably play next conference,” added Black.
Mitchell closed his brief three-game Commissioner’s Cup stint with 42 points, but he shot just 12-of-35 overall from the field.