TALK ’N Text shoots for a share of the early lead when it collides with expansion squad Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Alonte Sports Center in Binan, Laguna.
The Tropang Texters squeaked past the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday, 89-86, behind the late-game exploits of Jayson Castro to open the import-spiced conference on a winning note.
[See Big Jayson Castro baskets help Talk 'N Text overcome tough Rain or Shine stand]
But Talk ’N Text coach Jong Uichico is far from satisfied with the way his team played.
For one, Uichico hopes to see comebacking import Richard Howell do much better after being limited to just 28 minutes against Rain or Shine due to foul trouble.
“He (Howell) just needs to learn how not to get into foul trouble without losing his aggressiveness. That’s the only thing,” Uichico said. “Siyempre, this is an import-conference and he needs to play at least 40 minutes.”
The 6-foot-7 Howell finished with just 13 points and 12 rebounds, while shooting just 1-of-6 from the foul line in a highly-physical matchup against Rain or Shine.
The Tropang Texters will be facing an Elite side that will be reinforced by Gilas naturalized player Marcus Douthit, who finds himself going up against longtime national teammates like Ranidel de Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, and Castro.
Gametime is at 3 p.m.
Douthit, who played nine games for the Air21 Express during the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup, will be suiting up in place of Chris Charles, the two-time ABL MVP who is nursing a left hamstring injury.
The 6-foot-10 Douthit averaged 20.3 points, 20.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Express three years ago and the Elite hope the national player could deliver about the same numbers.
“We know yung natural style ng laro ni Marcus and his strength and we know he’ll play really hard tomorrow,” said Uichico.
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac said he likes the energy the locals displayed during the team’s 92-70 loss to Barako Bull on Wednesday, despite playing without Charles.
[See Sol Mercado sizzles in debut as Barako Bull rips import-less Blackwater]
The Elite are on a 12-game losing streak, dating back to their debut conference at the Philippine Cup, where they posted a woeful 0-11 win-loss record.