EVEN though injured import Richard Howell is expected to sit out, Talk ’N Text coach Norman Black wants his team to finish its elimination round schedule with a flourish when the unbeaten Tropang Texters tangle with winless Globalport in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Texters have scored eight straight victories, including an 85-82 escape act against Rain or Shine on Wednesday night where Howell failed to play in the entire second half.
Howell hurt his right shoulder in the first half of that game after an awkward fall. He left the Smart Araneta Coliseum at halftime to undergo an MRI at the Makati Medical Center.
“We will just play and coach our regular game because we have at least two days off after our game,” Black said.
The Texters and the Batang Pier (0-7) clash at 8 p.m.
Larry Fonacier, who keyed Talk ’N Text’s second half blitz against Rain or Shine, said they intend to go at a high level against Globalport.
“Iyun talaga calling card ni coach Norman this conference. We want to go at a high level going to the playoffs and keep our confidence high,” said Fonacier, who finished with 11 points on a perfect four-of-four from the field in 22 minutes of play on Wednesday.
On the other hand, Globalport’s woes doesn’t seem to end as it will head into the Talk ’N Text game without its three key players.
Rookie guard Terrence Romeo is out for the conference due to a back injury, Jay Washington is under the weather, while bruising forward Jewel Ponferrada is out with an injured nose, which he suffered during the team’s 75-99 loss to Rain or Shine last week.
“Para sa amin, we just want to finish this conference on a high note para naman sa confidence ng team heading to the next conference,” said Globalport coach Pido Jarencio after the Batang Pier’s regular Thursday practice at the Moro Lorenzo gym inside the Ateneo campus in Quezon City.
Even without three key players, Jarencio, who is still searching for his first win as a PBA head coach, expects his charges to gut it out against an import-less Talk ’N Text squad.
“Ang maganda, nagkausap-usap kami nung All-Star break. Pero tingnan na lang lang natin bukas,” he added.