After months of all-Filipino PBA action, we’re finally down to two teams– Rain or Shine and Talk N’ Text. The Elastopainters had a relatively easier series against San Mig Coffee which was predicted to go 7 games, while the Tropang Texters finished Alaska in 6 games as expected.
Before heading into the series preview, here are some thoughts about the semis:
- James Yap was defended very well. Ibanes, Norwood, and Arana did a pretty good job that James was more of the X-factor than PJ Simon, as mentioned in the semis preview.
- What happened to Yancy De Ocampo? He used to get significant minutes and appears to be having some sort of career renaissance.
- The ALA-TNT series was surprisingly more physical than SMC-ROS series.
- Abueva should be named Best Player of the Conference. (If only he could cut down his turnovers and unnecessary flopping)
- Luigi Trillo should quit whining about referee calls and focus on actually coaching.
… and for the preview:
In their lone meeting in Victoria’s City in the elimination round, Talk N’ Text came from behind to win, 80-77. Jeff Chan was well defended and Rain or Shine did not have Paul Lee and Chris Tiu in that game.
It’s the battle of bald coaches. For Yeng Guiao, “third time’s a charm”, as he finally defeated the Purefoods franchise in an all-Filipino series after 3 tries. Aside from the first “back-to-back” angle for the franchise, Guiao is also gunning for his first ever all-Filipino title.
For Norman Black, while gunning for his first in TNT, it’s all about being the first ever All-Filipino “three-peat” champions. Pwede ring “back-to-back” by virtue of winning UAAP and PBA championships consecutively.
You could say there’s pressure on both sides because history beckons for either team.
Obviously, if you’ve been following the PBA for years, you know that you cannot exactly determine the starters for Rain or Shine. They have been playing with their lineup time and again. Perhaps we could only count on which players are most probable to start such as Norwood, Chan and Lee. The safest bet would be Jeff Chan as a starter. Nevertheless, the closeness of the game might be decided by the performance of the starters. If they don’t perform well, we might see a close one. Otherwise, I can see Rain or Shine holding comfortable lead/s if not huge margins.
The most probable starters for Talk N’ Text would be Jayson Castro, Ryan Reyes, Jared Dillinger, Kelly Williams, Ranidel De Ocampo. This is to better match-up with Rain or Shine’s mobile big men and fast-paced attack. Being the BPC candidate that he is, Castro will always get his numbers. De Ocampo’s foul issues might be key here just like what happened in the semis where Alaska’s chances of winning a game depended on how De Ocampo is limited by foul trouble. Reyes is there to check Jeff Chan. If TNT can get significant contributions from Williams and Dillinger, more or less expect this team to win the game.
Anyone from Rain or Shine could come off the bench except for Chito Jaime and maybe Jonathan Uyloan. Guiao’s philosophy of balanced minutes for his players allow them to get contributions even when their “star players” do not produce. In the semis, whenever Paul Lee and Jeff Chan had bad games, there will always be someone stepping up, whether it was Ronnie Matias, Larry Rodriguez, Jireh Ibanes, or Chris Tiu.
Jimmy Alapag will more or less come off the bench for Talk N’ Text along with Ali Peek, Larry Fonacier and Harvey Carey. Reyes and Fonacier might switch places depending on their strategy. If players like Pamboy Raymundo, Aaron Aban, and even John Ferriols get significant minutes, it will be for physical and defensive purposes.
Perhaps any team coached by Yeng Guaio will be known for physicality. Talk N Text, on the other hand will probably not back down. As mentioned earlier, their semis was more physical than Rain or Shine’s. I expect another physical (and perhaps psychological) encounter with a minimum of 5 flagrant fouls, 5 technical fouls and around 2-3 ejections.
Rain or Shine in 7 games.