EVEN with June Mar Fajardo sitting out, Talk 'N Text coach Norman Black believes his team is still the underdog in their Saturday match-up against Petron in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The former PBA import turned coach pointed out that a resilient Petron side managed to rack up seven successive victories with Chris Lutz, Alex Cabagnot, Ronald Tubid, Yousef Taha and Chico Lanete injured at certain points of the campaign, and can surely do so without the injured Fajardo..
“Even with the absence of June Mar, Petron still has very talented players. So we don’t have time to relax,” said Black, who is gunning for his fourth straight win.
“We must stay focused on winning and improving our game, because just like them we have also been slowed down by injuries this conference,” added the one-time grand slam champion coach.
Petron coach Gee Abanilla begged to disagree.
“They’re still one of the toughest teams in the league. Fact that they are gunning for a fourth straight All Filipino cup title speaks volumes about the team’s capabilities,” said the youthful mentor of the Texters.
The Boosters are currently on a two-game skid after a remarkable start to the conference but Abanilla is hopeful of ending the skid even without Fajardo, who sat out an 83-97 loss to Ginebra on Christmas day owing to a sprained MCL and is set to sit out for two weeks.
Abanilla is banking on the team's resilience to pull through.
“Sayang ang mga nasimulan namin. Pero this team has been there, done that. We’ll try to find ways to win,” said Abanilla.
Abanilla hopes to have Fajardo back anywhere during a tough stretch of games where Petron will face Alaska (January 4), Barako Bull (January 8), Globalport (January 10) and San Mig Coffee (January 15).