Talk n Text and Barangay Ginebra hope to ride the crest of their Game One wins as they try to build commanding two-game-to-nil leads versus Air21 and Smart Gilas in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five semifinal showdowns at the Araneta Coliseum tonight.
The Tropang Texters and the Kings are raring to make it two in a row though they know it won’t be easy, expecting tough fightback by the Express and the Nationals.
Game Two in the short series is crucial, with TnT and Ginebra having a chance to put it away while Air21 and Smart Gilas have cracks at getting the series back to square one.
The Texters picked up from where they left off in the elimination round and blasted the Express, 97-90, in Game One of their duel.
The Kings, behind clutch plays by Nate Brumfield at the finish, upended the Nationals, 97-96, in the opener of their own semis matchup.
Ginebra will play tonight minus Yancy de Ocampo who’s meted one-game suspension plus a fine of P20,000 for a hacking foul on Marcus Douthit in Game One.
The 6-foot-8 De Ocampo was supposed to play longer minutes but was thrown out of the game early due to his flagrant infraction.
Still, the Kings found a way to battle with the young and talented Smart Gilas team with Nate Brumfield matching up with Marcus Douthit practically strides for strides and baskets for baskets.
Brumfield stood taller in the end as he keyed the Kings’ pulsating triumph.
“Hopefully, we can build on Friday’s win. It’s really hard to play Smart Gilas as you have to protect many things. For sure, they would be tougher in Game Two,” said Ginebra coach Jong Uichico.
Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman believes his troops have shaken off rustiness and should be back in highly competitive form today.
“Expect our players to be back playing the Smart Gilas game,” said Toroman.
The Serbian mentor felt they lost rhythm because of their long rest, causing them to struggle Friday.
“We lost our rhythm and we played bad. We missed so many free throws, and you can’t afford that in a game like this,” rued Toroman.
The Nationals missed 12 of 29 free throws with one each from Chris Tiu and Douthit in the last 28 seconds of play. The Kings cashed in on those misses to beat the Nationals in their fierce and furious duel marked by 14 deadlocks and 20 lead changes.
Talk n Text found no problem keeping its toughness and sharpness despite its long respite.
The Tropang Texters lived up their billing as champion team and playoffs top seeds, taking the best the Express could offer and thus stretching their amazing streak to nine games.
“We tried our best but unfortunately it was not enough. We committed a number of turnovers which was so much against a team like Talk n Text,” said Air21 coach Bong Ramos.
That they lost by only seven in the end, though, made Ramos confident they can beat Texters with a better showing in the next game.
“They’re strong but beatable,” said Ramos.
“We lost by seven (in Game One). To me it’s close. Anything could have happened if only we’re able to minimize our errors,” Ramos also said.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Texters, Kings gun for 2-0 lead
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