MANILA, Philippines - Talk n Text and Rain or Shine go to the trenches, bracing for an all-out war between the league's most dominant teams fired up by a seething desire to win the PBA Philippine Cup championship.
The Tropang Texters chase a third straight all-Filipino crown while the Elasto Painters shoot for a rare back-to-back championships in a best-of-seven titular series beginning at 6:45 p.m. tomorrow at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Both coaches predict a no-holds-barred duel.
"We're the No. 1 offensive team in the league and they're probably the best defensive team. They're good in offensive rebounds but we don't give much. They're good in stealing the basketball but we don't commit much error either," said Talk n Text coach Norman Black.
"Talk n Text is a good offensive team that can play defense. We're a good defensive team that can play offense," said RoS coach Yeng Guiao.
During the pre-finals press conference at the Gateway Suites in Cubao, Quezon City yesterday, the two coaches also cited their similarities in some styles and character, including playing long rotation, playing up-tempo and physical games.
But Black and Guiao agree that one has to give in the end.
"It's going to be difficult as it’s going to be physical. There are things that they love to do that we also love to do. But someone has to give," said Black.
"I don't think we have the advantage over Talk n Text. We'll just be relentless. And I hope we're going to be tough enough not to be the one that's going to give," said Guiao.
The fiery Rain or Shine mentor maintained his team is the underdog but expressed confidence of going all the way for a second straight championship.
"“We're proud to be here. We knew we're the underdogs against Ginebra (in the quarters) and we know we're not favored against San Mig Coffee (in the semis). Much more we're the underdogs against Talk n Text but we like that," said Guiao.
"They're the more experienced team and they have the talent. Kami naman no superstars at barya-barya lang (we've no superstars but have a balanced lineup) but I think that's enough. They've got more championships, kami isa lang (we've got only one), but I think it’s enough," Guiao pointed out.
Black's answer is who decides the odds and does it count in the battle.
"If we're the favorites, we still have to beat them four games to win the series. I'm not concerned on who’s the favorite or who’s the underdog," said Black.
"I'm keeping it simple, we have to win the series. I pay no attention to that," said Talk n Text slasher Jarred Dillinger.
"They're saying that maybe because we have more finals appearances. But they'd just been in the finals and emerged victorious. They’re the more dangerous team because they have experienced to win a championship and might crave for more," said TnT power forward Ranidel de Ocampo.
Everyone agreed, though, that it's going to be a virtual brawl.
"It's gonna be a hard-fought series, physical one. Both teams are both hungry and I’m not taking Rain or Shine lightly," said Ali Peek.
"The teams are pretty much even. They won the championship last conference and going for a second. We, on the other hand, are after a third all-Filipino championship. Both are hungry," said Harvey Carey.
"Yes, it's going to be a physical series. Let's get it on," said Paul Lee.
"We anticipate a tough series that's why we're really serious in practice. I pull heavy weights in preparation for Ali (Peek)," said Beau Belga.
The two teams have met only once in the tourney with the Texters barely beating a Lee-less RoS team, 80-77.