TALK `N Text being back in its full strength couldn’t have come at a better time in the PBA Governors Cup as it battles an Alaska team aching to get back on the winning track on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tropang Texters will have veteran point guard Jimmy Alapag back on its active roster for their 7:30 p.m. encounter with the Aces, with whom they are tied in the standings with an even 2-2 record.
Coach Norman Black’s team started the season-ending conference without four of its key players in Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Jason Castro following their stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the recent Fiba-Asia Championship.
De Ocampo, Fonacier, and Castro returned last week and have since played in Talk ‘N Text’s last two games.
Now, it’s Alapag’s turn to be reactivated as the former league MVP will be back in harness following a three-week rest in the US.
“This is a really big game in the standings as the winner will move to the upper half. We are just looking to continue to improve offensively and defensively,” explained Black.
Against the Aces, Black is aware of Alaska’s capability to bounce back after coming off a tough 74-84 loss to Meralco on Tuesday.
“We know Alaska is one of the best teams in the league so this will be a tough one. We are also hoping to get a lift from Jimmy who will play his first game even though he has had only three days of practice,” said the well-decorated PBA coach.
Alaska big man Sonny Thoss, who has been rendered almost ineffective in the last two games due to foul trouble, said the Aces have to move on after that bitter loss to the Bolts and just focus on winning against the Tropang Texters.
At the same time, Alaska import Wendell McKines is expected to bounce back from an anemic 13-point output in that loss to Meralco.
The wide-bodied McKines only scored a point in the second half against the Bolts, hastening Alaska’s downfall.