FOLLOWING the acquisition of two key players, Air21 now tries to inject life into its sagging PBA Governors Cup quarterfinal bid when it plays Talk `N Text in a battle between two skidding teams on Friday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Express have lost their last four outings to occupy the bottom of the standings with their 1-5 (win-loss) record but hope to turn things around in the 5:15 p.m. game when the team unveils veteran players Asi Taulava and Joseph Yeo.
Taulava, the returning former league Most Valuable Player (MVP), and Yeo were acquired by Air21 in separate trades with Meralco and Petron, respectively.
“It’s a must-win for us,” admitted Air21 coach Franz Pumaren. “All we need to do is mind our own business and start winning. We got the players we need.”
Pumaren, though, stressed that acquiring Taulava and Yeo this late in the conference also has its disadvantages as well.
“The disadvantage is we only have limited time to prepare. Asi has not played for three months. He’s been training and in shape, but an actual game is totally different,” explained the Air21 mentor.
“We’re just hoping that with these new guys (Taulava and Yeo) being the veterans – they can help us get the wins. But it’s really hard to make adjustments at this point.”
Air21 will be facing a Talk ‘N Text squad that is currently in disarray, having lost its last two games including a 34-point blowout loss against league-leader Petron onWednesday night, 88-122.
Talks of changing high-scoring import Tony Mitchell has been swirling around following the loss to the Boosters, where the 24-year-old former NBA D-League Slam Dunk champion was held to just seven points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field.
Talk ‘N Text team manager Aboy Castro said replacing Mitchell at this point is an option, though coach Norman Black said Mitchell will play on Friday.
“Tony will play tomorrow (Friday). Simply put, we just have to find a way to get a win,” said Black, whose team is currently tied for eighth to ninth spot in the standings with its anemic 2-4 record.