TWO-TIME defending champion Talk ‘N Text and San Mig Coffee collide in an early battle of undefeated teams as the PBA Philippine Cup elimination continues on Saturday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Only one team will remain unscathed after tonight’s 8 p.m. match as the Tropang Texters (3-0) stake their three-game winning streak this season against the Mixers, who currently tote a 2-0 record.
San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone will be playing minus two of his main men – Jean Marc Pingris and JC Intal – both sidelined by injuries. The 6’5” Pingris reinjured his right ankle after getting entangled with Petron big man June Mar Fajardo during the Mixers’ 90-84 win against the Boosters on Sunday night.
On the other hand, Intal remains sidelined due to a knee injury, which he sustained since the last conference.
Nevertheless, Cone is confident his battle-tested core of James Yap, Yancy de Ocampo, PJ Simon, Jonas Villanueva, along with returning Joe Devance is capable of handling the Tropang Texters’ own set of championship-honed players led by Jimmy Alapag, Ryan Reyes, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams, and Jayson Castro.
“I think James is giving us good looks in terms of offense because he’s getting more comfortable with the system. Last year was more of a learning experience for us. But this year, we’re taking things at a different level in terms of our system,” noted Cone, who piloted the team, then known as B-Meg to two Finals trips and a championship in the Commissioner’s Cup last season.
San Mig Coffee’s level of comfort playing the triangle offense was obvious in its first two games. The Mixers opened the season with much aplomb, routing the Alaska Aces, 103-83 before defeating the Boosters, 90-84.
The Tropang Texters, under new coach Norman Black, are getting more comfortable playing under a hybrid offensive system - a mix of former coach Chot Reyes' dribble drive and Black's own set plays.
Against a young and hungry Air21, Black unveiled a free-flowing offense that allowed Alapag, de Ocampo, Castro, Williams and Reyes to score with relative ease from the perimeter or inside the paint.
“We were just running our free-flowing offense in the second half. It really worked a lot on our game, allowing guys to pop out and score. Our execution will take time, nothing is built overnight. But what’s important is to try to get as many wins as possible because these wins will matter,” Black said.
In the 5:45 p.m. opener, Globalport (1-3) hopes to ride the momentum of its 105-104 win over Meralco when it clashes with Governors Cup champion Rain or Shine (2-1).
“Malaking boost sa morale ng team yung panalo naming against Meralco. Pero ibang labanan ito laban sa Rain or Shine since physical sila maglaro,” said Globalport gunner Gary David, who remains sidelined with a left knee injury.