THE chase for one of the Top Four berths continues for grand slam-seeking San Mig Super Coffee and Talk ‘N Text as the two powerhouse teams clash for the first time in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 8 p.m. match will be the first between the Mixers and Tropang Texters since the Commissioner’s Cup Finals when San Mig ended Talk `N Text’s bid for a `perfect’ conference after winning the mid-season tournament behind import James Mays and Finals MVP James Yap.
The Tropang Texters entered the title series with an unbeaten 13-0 record only to find lose their luster later after bowing to the Mixers, 3-1, in the best-of-five finals.
Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black recognizes the need for his team to come out with high intensity and energy especially after suffering a 74-88 loss to Barako Bull on Tuesday.
“It's a battle for first place and the twice-to-beat advantage so it will be intense,” said Black, whose Tropang Texters are tied with the Mixers and Ginebra on top of the standings, all with similar 5-2 cards.
“Energy is the name of the game when you play San Mig so we will have to surpass their energy level to be able to get a win,” he added.
Black said with the Mixers’ loaded frontline and backcourt and working solidly with last season’s Governors Cup Best Import Marqus Blakely, the Tropang Texters need to double their effort against the defending champions.
“They (Mixers) have so many weapons that I will need all of my players to be on top of their game for us to get a share of first place,” explained the Talk ‘N Text mentor.
While Black considers the Mixers a dangerous foe this conference, San Mig coach Tim Cone feels they are not playing true to their potential with two games to go in their elimination round schedule.
“We feel we’re not where we need to be because we’re not playing the same defense we’ve been playing (in the previous conferences) and we’re kind of out of whack a little bit,” noted Cone, whose team had to go through an extra five minutes to beat Air21 on Monday, 113-109.
But for Cone, the upside in playing Talk ‘N Text, followed by Rain or Shine on Monday to close the single-round eliminations, is getting the Mixers prepared for the expected tough playoff competition.
“You don’t want to put yourself in an almost impossible situation to beat a top team like Talk ‘N Text or San Miguel or Ginebra in the playoffs with a twice to beat disadavantage, so getting to that Top Four is important,” he added.