Texters ready to load up record '3'
MANILA, Philippines - Talk n Text needs to dish out its best to book a place in history through a third straight championship against an embattled Rain or Shine squad wishing to win one "and not go gently into that good night."
The fired-up Tropang Texters go for a sweep of their best-of-seven title playoff for the PBA Philippine Cup crown tonight at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and hope to accomplish the feat with a defensive mindset that has brought them to the brink of another title romp.
Game Four is tipped off at 6:45 p.m. preceded by the awarding of the Best Player of the Conference award. Being the most consistent throughout the conference, Talk n Text dynamo Jayson Castro is tipped to win it over teammate Ranidel de Ocampo, Alaska super rookie Calvin Abueva, Petron Blaze's Mr. Double-Double Arwind Santos and Meralco's energetic guard Sol Mercado.
In a bid to put the wraps on the crown tonight, TnT coach Norman Black said the key "is not to get ahead of ourselves."
"We still need four wins, and the job is not finish yet," said Black. "We're expecting a never-say-die attitude from Rain or Shine so we have to be ready for anything."
The multi-titled bench tactician said they would not deviate from what they've been doing in the series which is to play defense.
"Our focus will continue to be on defense especially versus their pick-and-rolls and guard post-ups," said Black whose chargers have not allowed their rivals to score more than 81 points in any of the first three games of the series.
Rain or Shine neither has shot above 35 percent from the field in any of those games.
And it's not lost on Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao.
"I don't think we’ll change too many things in terms of game plan. We're just not making our shots," said Guiao. "We have a very poor shooting percentage. We've had good looks but our guards are not really making the mark and our bigs are not making the treys."
Being smaller, Rain or Shine is playing Beau Belga and JR Quinahan pick-and-pops obviously to lure Kelly Williams and Ranidel de Ocampo out of the paint.
The problem is that Belga and Quiñahan, however, are not making the shots that they usually make.
The Texters are also doing well matching up with the E-Painters’ tall backcourt players.
In Game Three, TnT guards Castro and Jimmy Alapag made the biggest damage as the Texters made it 3-0 with a come-from-behind 89-80 win.
Guiao virtually conceded defeat after that match. "We'll just try to delay their party or celebration," said the RoS mentor.
If the Texters are able to close out the series tonight, they would celebrate an unprecedented all-Filipino three-peat via a sweep.
They will only be the second team to win the all-Filipino tourney three in a row after the fabled Crispa Redmanizers in the early 80s.
Talk n Text is after a sixth PBA championship in all while Black is in pursuit of an 11th crown.