Talk 'N Text a defensive challenge for Barako Bull import Solomon Alabi, says coach Koy Banal
Top defensive import Solomon Alabi of Barako Bull will have his hands full against Talk 'N Text in the quarterfinals, Jerome Ascano

BARAKO Bull coach Koy Banal hopes import Solomon Alabi would manage to extend his defensive coverage for the Energy and stand a chance against no. 2 seed Talk ‘n Text in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal matchup on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Already a defensive force down low after leading the league in blocks with an average of 3.7 rejections a game, Alabi will have his work cut out for him as he is also being asked to run after shooting big men who are expected to be matched up against the 7-foot-1 Nigerian in the 3 p.m. encounter.

“We’re expecting they’re going to put shooters on Solomon,” Banal said, rattling off the Tropang Texters’ stretch 4s in import Ivan Johnson and locals Ranidel de Ocampo, Jay Washington, and Danny Seigle.

“He has no choice, but to come out and play defense,” the Barako mentor added. “That would be his challenge.”

“Kailangan na lang namin i-maximize yung advantage na yun," De Ocampo said.

The twice-to-beat Texters dealt the Energy their first loss of the conference, an 80-75 decision a day before Valentine’s, snapping a three-game winning streak.

But Banal felt his team matched up admirably with traditional big man Richard Howell still Talk ‘N Text’s import that time.

Barako Bull’s spitfire guard Sol Mercado, who was absent in the elimination-round meeting against the Texters, is also available this time.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos