MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion Talk ‘N Text will have another go at a quarterfinals seat when it plays Meralco on Friday’s PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
The Texters were earlier denied from gaining a quarterfinal berth when they lost to Barangay Ginebra, 104-101, last Sunday.
But the league leader Talk ‘N Text is now bent on securing a 9th-straight appearance in the conference playoffs.
It also wants to give coach Norman Black his 500th PBA win.
Black said they will have to control the scoring output of Meralco, which is the Philippine Cup’s top offensive team with an average of 95.3 points per game.
“It’s important that we play better defense against Meralco since they lead the league in offense. The main keys are better defense versus their two-man game and we must control our defensive boards,” the Texters’ coach said in PBA.ph.
Returning for Talk ‘N Text are Texters Ryan Reyes and Jared Dillinger, who recuperated from injuries.
Reyes nursed a hurting calf muscle while Dillinger was sidelined by an injured pectoral muscle.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio said he and his boys have two missions going into the 7:30 p.m. game.
“Two missions must be accomplished – mission #1: find ways to win against the defending champions; mission #2: befriend the Ynares Antipolo Arena so that we can finally win there,” said Gregorio.
Meralco has beaten Talk ‘N Text only once in their past 8 meetings.
Even more baffling is the Bolts’ difficulty in securing a win at the Ynares Center.
But Meralco, which has actually won 3 of its last 4 games, is hopeful that it improves its 5-3 record.