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    Playoffs is time to shine for veteran-laden San Mig team, says Cone

    Jan 23, 2014
    Tim Cone and the San Mig Mixers are looking to put an end to Talk `N Text's three-year reign as Philippine Cup champion. Jerome Ascano

    SURGING San Mig Super Coffee attempts to end the three-year reign of Talk `N Text as PBA Philippine Cup champion when it goes for the kill in Game Two of their best-of-three quarterfinal showdown at the Mall of Asia Friday.

    Game time is at 5:45 p.m. and though momentum is obviously on their side, the Mixers expect the Tropang Texters to come out with a much stronger effort compared to the series-opener which they won, 90-83.

    The Game One victory was the fifth straight for San Mig dating back to the eliminations. The Mixers did it behind their game-long defensive brilliance and hustle off the boards that saw them outrebound the Tropang Texters, 55-45.

    Coach Tim Cone said the playoffs is where he expects his veteran players to step up knowing the stakes are now higher.

    “I’ve got veterans. It’s kind of they (Mixers) are perked up at the end of the conference,” said Cone.

    “When the playoffs come, that’s (step up) what they get to do. They find their second wind. Guys like Ping (Marc Pingris), PJ (Simon), Joe (Devance), and James (Yap), even Rafi (Reavis) and Yancy (de Ocampo), they are all playing very, very well.”

    The multi-titled coach said it’s in the playoffs where reputations are cemented and eventually, the basis for contract extensions are done.

    “We’re being led by our veterans. They know what the playoffs is all about. They know the bonuses in winning,” he added.

    “This is the time when you create your reputation. This is the time you create your contracts later on. You don’t get them in the eliminations. You get that (better contracts) in the playoffs,” Cone stressed.

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    “These guys sense that instinctively. You can see it in film sessions because they’re kind of attentive.”

    Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black, however, isn’t about to throw in the towel and wants his team to play with greater urgency and prevent San Mig from ending the franchise’s reign as All-Filipino champion.

    “We will have to do a better job on the boards and limit their second chance points,” said Black, who is looking for the 12th league championship of his career.

    Nino Canaleta will also try to contribute in only his second game with the Tropang Texters since being acquired by the team just before Monday's trade deadline from Air21.

    Black also pointed out San Mig was aggressive enough to convert the Tropang Texters’ 15 turnovers into 20 points that allowed the Mixers to escape with the Game One victory.

    “We must take care of the ball because they (Mixers) scored 20 turnover points last game. It’s do-or-die for us so we must bring the energy and the effort,” he added.

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    Tim Cone and the San Mig Mixers are looking to put an end to Talk `N Text's three-year reign as Philippine Cup champion. Jerome Ascano
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