ALL coach Norman Black asked Nino Canaleta was to help Talk N Text get the rebounds against Barako Bull in the PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals match up.
Yet, the slam-dunking power forward did much more.
The 6-foot-6 Canaleta came out with an fiery display of outside shooting to key a second-half surge in the Tropang Texters’ 99-84 pounding of the Energy to book an early semifinals berth in the season-ending conference.
Canaleta finished with a game-high 25 points, spiked by six three-pointers to kick off Talk ‘N Text’s playoff campaign against the eight-seeded Barako Bull.
“Medyo matagal na ako di nakaka-contribute sa kanila eh. Inaantay din nila 'yun, saka para come next round, mataas 'yung kumpiyansa namin,” said the 33-year-old Canaleta, who added four rebounds and an assist in 26 quality minutes of play.
The veteran out of University of the East, a known slam dunker before transforming himself into one of the league’s most dreaded shooters, mentioned that he never really forced his shots, well aware that anybody from the team can shoot at any given time.
“Ginawa ko lang 'yung sa depensa magsimula. Eh, di ko naman ini-expect na su-shoot talaga. Dumating lang talaga na ma-open ako,” he added.
Still, the former Most Improved Player said his torrid outside shooting will come in handy during the semifinals, fully aware the Texters can expect tough defense against either San Miguel Beer or defending champion San Mig Super Coffee in the next round.
“Pandagdag lang ng kumpiyansa at pampa-boost ng energy kasi sa next round, mag-i-iba na ang competition, mahigpit na lahat,” said the league’s five-time slam dunk champion.
Canaleta believes the Tropang Texters are far more determined to finish the season with a championship after a disappointing Commissioner’s Cup Finals debacle that saw them lose the title to San Mig after entering the series with a perfect 13-0 record.
"Nakalimutan na namin 'yun (Commissioner's Cup Finals loss), pero tapos na 'yun eh. Ito ngayon, binibigyan uli kami ng pagkakataon, so huwag lang naming pakawalan," he added.