Talk 'N Text's Richard Howell drives to the basket against Rain or Shine's Wayne Chism. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Talk ‘N Text import Richard Howell has powered the Tropang Texters to a Finals berth in the PBA Commissioners Cup and is in line for the Best Import award.
But he said he has his eyes on the biggest prize – a championship.
The 23-year-old import was a force to be reckoned with in Talk 'N Text’s series-clinching win against Rain or Shine last week, going for 26 points and 19 rebounds in the Texters’ 99-91 victory in Game 3.
It was the teams’ 13th win in a row, tying the franchise’s longest winning streak, but Howell told PBA.ph that this was not their concern.
“We’re not gunning for 13 wins. We’re gunning for the championship,” he stressed. “A lot of people are talking about the streak, and it’s a good streak, but at the same time, we’re not satisfied.”
He is also not worried about the race to the Best Import award, which he is currently leading.
“The Best Import award, only one individual wins,” Howell said. “But with a championship, the whole team wins, so that’s what we want to get.”
TNT head coach Norman Black said Howell played his best game of the series in Game 3, which saw the import bounce back from a subpar Game 2 that saw him score only 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds.
“He did a much better job offensively for us at the beginning of the game, which helped us a lot,” said Black.
“It was a matter of me coming out and playing out of foul (trouble),” said Howell. “In the first games, I think I got into foul trouble, which slowed me down. So this game, I just wanted to be aggressive and not foul, and I think I did.”
Talk 'N Text will face either San Mig Super Coffee or Air21 in the finals, with the Mixers leading the Express, 2-1, in the best-of-five series.
“Three more games to get it done,” said Howell, ahead of their Finals series. “We need to take care of business like what we did (against Rain or Shine), and we’ll be all right.”
As for as who they want to play in the championship round, Howell only said: “This is the PBA, anything can happen.”
“But for sure, it’s going to be a good battle whoever we play in the finals. I’m sure that it’s going to be a good battle,” he said.