JONG Uichico hopes to put an end on Purefoods’ domination of Talk ‘N Text as the two powerhouse teams start their potentially explosive PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tropang Texters dropped a heart-breaking 118-117 triple-overtime decision against the Hotshots in their lone meeting this conference in Davao City.
Significantly, the telecommunication franchise has been 0-4 in its head-to-head playoff series against its fierce rival since Tim Cone took over the coaching helm of Purefoods.
Three years ago, Cone and the Hotshots (then carrying the B-Meg banner) vanquished the Tropang Texters in the Finals, 4-3, to win the Commissioner’s Cup championship.
Then only last season, Purefoods defeated Talk ‘N Text in all of their three conferences match-ups - a 2-1 victory in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals, a 3-1 triumph in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, followed by a 3-2 series win in the Governors Cup semifinals.
Uichico is keeping his fingers crossed Talk ‘N Text’s fortunes will be reversed this time.
“Pagdating ng semis, ibang usapan na yan because you play the best of the best, as they say. So you always have to be prepared,” said Uichico heading to the team’s 7 p.m. semifinal encounter against the defending champion.
Talk ‘N Text though enters the semifinals with a three-game winning streak, thanks to import Ivan Johnson’s impressive averages of 40.1 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 2.3 steals while making 61 percent of his shots from three-point distance.
Cone recognizes the strong showing of Johnson, although the Hotshots have returnee Denzel Bowles to lean on in their bid for a back-to-back title conquest in the mid-season conference.
“He’s (Johnson) playing extremely well. But Denzel is playing extremely well also, so both team are very comfortable with their imports,” said Cone, whose team is looking to extend its six-game winning streak in the semifinals.
“They (Tropang Texters) are playing great basketball, so we have to figure out a way.”
Purefoods the semifinals after scoring a two-game sweep of Alaska last weekend, while Talk ‘N Text easily ousted seventh seed Barako Bull.