MANILA, Philippines – The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters are prepared to fight back against the physicality of the Barako Bull Energy when they meet Thursday night for Game 2 of their best-of-five semifinals series in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Ynares Sports Center.
Barako surprised the top-seeded Texters in the series opener, winning 84-77, thanks to a superb effort from import Gabe Freeman and contributions from the Energy’s veteran brigade.
"We need to fight back, literally," TNT coach Chot Reyes told PBA.ph.
Reyes said the Texters need to defend against Barako guards Ronald Tubid and Wynne Arboleda, the two players who combined to pressure the TNT scorers throughout Game 1.
"We need to defend their MVPs, Tubid and Arboleda. Self-defense, that is, as they’re hell-bent on decimating our line-up," Reyes said.
Reyes is referring to the early exit of forward Kelly Williams, who had to leave the game late in the first quarter after sustaining a face injury.
"Williams is out with a fractured cheek bone from Tubid," Reyes said. He added that Jayson Castro is still struggling with a badly poked eye, this time courtesy of Arboleda.
Barako head coach Junel Baculi said he is preparing his team for the expected Talk 'N Text fightback.
"With coach Chot and Talk 'N Text's experience, they will fight back. We have to get ready for that," Baculi said. "They will make the adjustments; they're not the defending champions for nothing."
The Texters will hope to get more from production from point guard Jimmy Alapag, who was held scoreless in Game 1. Only Castro (27 points) and Larry Fonacier (14 points) finished in double-digits for the Texters.
Meanwhile, Barako will need another strong performance from Freeman, who led the way in Game 1 with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
Tubid, the reigning PBA Player of the Week, is doubtful for Game 2 after he jammed his left shoulder late in Game 1.