Expect A Brutal Game Wednesday
By WAYLON GALVEZ
Game Wednesday (Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
6:45 p.m. — Talk ’N Text vs Ginebra (Game 5)
MANILA, Philippines — With a finals slot at stake, expect Talk ’N Text and Barako Bull to leave everything on the floor Wednesday in the fifth and deciding game of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup senmifinals at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Both teams have drawn blood over the course of four games and it will not be a surprise if some more will be spilled tonight as both teams prepare for the worst with so much at stake.
Although it is just a game, TNT coach Chot Reyes has described the series as war, and because it had reached the maximum allowable games, he called the fifth game “all-out war” to indicate that no prisoners will be taken.
“Game 5 will be an all-out war,” said Reyes, who minced no words in describing the tactics of Barako Bull. He said the Barakos’ Ronald Tubid and Wynne Arboleda were trying to decimate them with their rough tactics in Game 1 and 3 which the Energy won.
To illustrate just how tough the series had been, a total of 19 technical fouls, including seven on second motions and five on double technical fouls have been called by officials.
Reyes, however, said they are ready and confident of pulling it through.
“Hope we come out with the same energy and focus,” said Reyes. “We can’t dwell on it (physicality), we just have to play with it and play thru it.”
The Texters forced a playoff by cruising to a 108-90 victory in Game 4 where they dominated every facet of the game.
Ranidel de Ocampo sparked the team’s decisive runaway by scoring from every conceivable angle to finish with 23 points – his biggest in the series so far.
Just like Reyes, Barako coach Junel Baculi expects emotions to run high when they meet at 6:45 p.m.
Baculi, however, lamented that game officials denied them of playing their brand of game the last time, saying: “Barako Bull was denied of its usual physical game.”
“I sincerely hope that the refs will allow us to play our usual game on this do- or-die, the way they allowed Talk ‘N Text (in the previous game). A fair and even officiating (in Game 5) will determine the rightful finalist,” added Baculi.
“They’re more aggressive in Game 4, so we have to match that aggressiveness, or better it if we can.,” said Baculi, who is hoping that import Gabe Freeman will bounce back from a woeful showing in Game 4.
To the disappointment of Barako supporters, Freeman, a two-time Best Import winner, was held to just six points – his lowest in 59 games in the PBA.
Despite their blowout loss, Baculi remains upbeat.
“They just tied the series. As long as we still have a chance, we’ll compete. We know we can beat them, which we did twice in these playoffs so we know we can do it again,” said Baculi.
For the Energy to advance, former two-time MVP Willie Miller, Danny Seigle, Wynne Arboleda, Dorian Pena, Mic Pennisi, Allado and Tubid must step to deny TNT a second straight finals appearance.
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