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Texters favored

  • Written by Arman Carandang
  • Published in Basketball
  • Read: 337

Game today

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

Game 2, best-of-5 semifinal series

7 p.m. -- Talk ‘N Text vs. Meralco

TALK ‘N Text plays Meralco today as it seeks to move a win away from the finals of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Texters took Game One of the best-of-5 semifinal series last Tuesday, giving them much momentum in their meeting with the Bolts in Game 2 at 7 p.m.

TNT coach Jong Uichico, a veteran of countless playoff battles in the past, is not leaving anything to chances, especially since the Texters are up against a Meralco team that’s very capable of launching a comeback.
   
“Just the 1st game, it’s a series. Go back to the drawing board, we know Meralco can come back,” said Uichico.
   
Asian import Mike Madanly led the Texters while four others -- Troy Rosario, Mychal Ammons, Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo also shining on offense in the opener won by TNT, 113-95.
   
But it was Castro who actually shone brightest among the locals as he not only scored but also dished off nine assists and pulled off four rebounds, while providing intangibles in game rich in highlight plays.
   
The Best Player of the Conference candidate is expected to be at the forefront of the Texters’ bid for 2-0 lead over their embattled sister team.
   
“Jayson has been our pillar. He was known as a scoring point  guard but he has developed his game,” said Uichico.
   
It is easier said than done, though, more so since the Bolts are no lemons who easily go down.
   
“We can’t put our guards down, we haven’t accomplished anything, it’s a long way to go,” said Uichico, who is squaring off with Norman Black for the first time in 15 years.
   
And Uichico had better brace for a whale of a fight as the Bolts are expected to give their all to avoid falling into 0-2 deficit.
   
“It’s do or die tomorrow (today) because it will be almost impossible to come back from a 0-2 deficit,” said Black.
   
“We just have to play much better,” he added.
   
If they are to level the series, the Bolts must find a way to stop Castro, or if possible – limit the other TNT scorers if they cannot stop Castro.
   
In Game 1, the Bolts actually had made good account of limiting Castro whom scored just 14 points, a far cry from his previous 42 points he scored when TNT route NLEX in the quarterfinals.
   
Castro himself acknowledged the Bolts’ tight defense on him.
   
“Maganda game plan nila sa akin. Ni-remind lang ako ni coach Josh (Reyes) na lahat ng defensive schemes nila naka-focus sa akin so kailangan ko kaagad bitawan or hanapin ang mga open man,” said Castro.