Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Express helpless in Texters rampage

Posted by chardyboy on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 0 comments


TALK N Text is proving to be like a runaway freight train and Air21 is standing helplessly on its path.
"Talagang napakalakas ng Talk N Text, ang hirap," Express coach Bong Ramos said after his team got walloped 96-114 by the Tropang Texters last Sunday in Game 2 of their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals duel at the Araneta Coliseum.

The lopsided win came on the heels of a similarly cruising 97-90 triumph in the best-of-five series’ opener last Friday, putting the season-opening Philippine Cup champion within another victory of securing a second straight finals stint.

The Texters can close out the series tomorrow.

Ramos is not ready to throw in the towel, but has the time to appreciate the Texters’ manhandling of his charges despite the different adjustments he, his staff and players have done.

"Talk N Text is playing with character. They’re still hungry to win, hindi iyung petek-petek na lang. The way they played two games pang-championship talaga," said Ramos.

Things could only get worse for Air21 if TNT coach Chot Reyes, his own staff and management succeed in preventing their players’ concentration from straying.

"It’s a very natural tendency for teams with big leads (in a series) to relax. I still hope we can maintain a steady level of play and effort throughout 48 minutes," said Reyes.

The Texters led by as many as 21 points in the first game and by 27 last Sunday, but Reyes still believes there are some kinks remaining to be ironed out with his charges.

"I felt today towards the end of the second quarter we throttled back a bit, relaxed a little bit. Hopefully we can cure that," he offered.

Still, the all-around efforts put in by his team satisfied Reyes, whose team managed to achieve what he had laid out. "Our priority was to play better today than we did in Game 1, both offensively and defensively. I think we achieved that," he stated.

Air21 started the series with only a day off from a best-of-three quarterfinals matchup with Alaska, making it imperative for the Texters to take advantage of the opportunity.

"I felt this weekend was important for us because we were playing an Air21 team coming off that tough series against Alaska on one day’s rest," said Reyes.

Ramos admitted fatigue, both mental and physical, may have set in on his wards, who had to win their last four games in the eliminations just to get a crack at Alaska, which then took their series opener.

"Imagine, today is the 17th day in which we’ve been playing eight games. So parang naglalaro kami every other day," he said. "Kaya kanina, nasa amin na ang bola nawawala pa. But I don’t want to blame my players."

The two days’ rest is a very welcome one for the Express. "Hopefully maka-recover kami," said Ramos. "Maganda iyun para sa amin. Iyung two days na iyon para sa akin precious iyun."

Its latest loss pegged Air21’s head-to-head duel with TNT in the last three conferences at 0-12. Yet Ramos believes his team still has what it takes to at least avoid a shutout.

Fact is, Ramos relishes and Reyes is worried with the Express being in a familiar back-to-the-wall position.

"That’s what I told my players, that we’re back in the same situation," said Ramos. "From the eliminations, do-or-die. Then we played Alaska, another do-or-die in the quarters. And now do-or-die in the semis. Who knows?

"But first things first, we have to bounce back, hopefully maka-recover iyung mga players."

"This is a very dangerous team and they take pride in not losing a do-or-die game. And Wednesday, guess what, is a do-or-die game for them. We’ll be in trouble if they keep surviving do-or-die games," said Reyes.

"That’s why we have to make sure we come out with our best on Wednesday."


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