TALK ‘N Text better brace for a war.
Admitting it was caught by surprise with the physicality of the game the last time, defending champion Purefoods will take the same mentality against the Tropang Texters heading into Thursday night’s Game Three of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Tim Cone made the guarantee on the eve of the 7 p.m. match.
“That (physicality) surprises us. We didn’t think Talk ‘N Text will come out and play like that. But we’ll be well prepared for it (physicality) in Game Three,” vowed Cone.
Hot-tempered Ivan Johnson, who struggled from the field all game along, turned into a defensive monster in the final period of the Tropang Texters’ 93-77 win as he held Purefoods counterpart Denzel Bowles to just two free throws.
The Talk ‘N Text victory leveled the best-of-five series at 1-1.
Cone did admit the playing against a physical team game is not something new to the Hotshots anymore, considering they faced Rain or Shine twice in the Finals last season.
“It’s not that we haven’t seen (the physical plays) before. Last year’s Grand Slam, we played Rain or Shine twice in the Finals, so we know all about playing physically. We’re just not ready for them playing physically (in Game Two),” he added.
So intense the nature of the game was that Johnson and Purefoods forward Marc Pingris engaged in a verbal tussle during the second half, their personal exchange of words eventually spilling off to the tunnel heading to the Araneta Coliseum dugout shortly after the game.
The 6-foot-7 former Atlanta Hawks forward engaged Pingris in a shouting match before cooler heads from both teams restrained the two from getting at each other physically.
For Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico, the physical plays merely mirrored the desire of both teams to come out on top.
“Both teams are trying to find a way to win and it’s a given that emotions are high. I can’t tell our players to back down and Purefoods won’t back down either,” said Uichico.
The Tropang Texters are out to redeem themselves after suffering a four-game shutout at the hands of eventual champion San Miguel Beermen during the Philippine Cup semifinals.
Talk ‘N Text has also gone 0-4 against Purefoods since Cone began coaching the franchise at the start of the 2012 season.