UNDERMANNED teams Talks’ N Text and Petron Blaze collide in an early battle between two tournament heavyweights in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Talk ’N Text, the reigning three-time All-Filipino conference champion, won’t have veteran stars Ranidel de Ocampo and Ryan Reyes when the Tropang Texters tangle with the injury-riddled Petron five at 5:45 p.m.
The Boosters are also dealing with their own injury issues. Newly-acquired sophomore center Yousef Taha is listed as day-to-day after initial reading of his MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) on Friday morning revealed he has a mild right knee sprain.
Playmakers Alex Cabagnot (plantar fascia tear) and Ronald Tubid (knee) are also out.
“Well, we are a little shallow in the number of personnel we have right now, but we will be coming out and giving our best against the defending champs,” Petron coach Gee Abanilla.
Abanilla’s troops showed they are up to the task during their first game of the season when they turned back the revamped Globalport squad, 97-87, on Wednesday.
Reigning MVP Arwind Santos and vastly-improved 6-foot-10 center June Mar Fajardo are expected to lead the way for the Boosters, who are coming off a runner-up finish in last season’s Governors Cup.
Talk ’N Text coach Norman Black said given his team’s health issues, their focus is on making sure that Fajardo and Santos are kept out of the shaded lane, especially now that he’s got former MVP Kelly Williams back this season.
The 6’7” Williams is coming off a seven-month medical leave after battling with a rare blood disorder known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura.
Williams marked his return by scoring 10 points and providing the additional defensive presence to help Talk ’N Text score an 89-80 win over sister team Meralco on Sunday’s season-opener.
“Our goal is to continue to get off to a good start to avoid playing catch up later in the conference,” said Black.
“Both teams will be undermanned so the reserves will have to step up. Ranidel is still out and Ryan is day-to-day so our game focus will be on trying to slow down June Mar and Arwind inside and (Chris) Lutz and (Marcio) Lassiter on the perimeter.”