Well-Rested Texters Test Ginebra Tonight

Just two days after ending a five-game losing skid, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel faces an acid test against defending champion Talk 'N Text tonight in the PBA Philippine Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

The Kings, now carrying a 3-5 win-loss record, take the floor at 6:30 p.m. against a team that lost only once in eight matches.

"We have to keep working and hopefully build on this," said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen after the Kings edged Globalport, 81-79, Friday.

"It's really a process. Admittedly after the first two games, the hype was so big that somehow, we lost our focus. We have to regain that focus."

The victory came three days after shipping veteran guard Mike Cortez to Air21 for 6-7 rookie Yousef Taha who didn't play against Globalport.

The trade gave Tanquingcen a three-guard rotation with starter LA Tenorio, Jayjay Helterbrand and Rob Labagala taking turns to orchestrate the offense.

Reigning MVP Mark Caguioa led the Kings with 19 points, while Tenorio collected 14 points with three three-pointers, and Elmer Espiritu had his best game in a Ginebra uniform as he came off the bench with 12 points and seven rebounds.

The Texters will be returning from a seven-day break. They beat Petron Blaze, 92-82, last Sunday.

After missing several games, Ryan Reyes and Jared Dillinger are expected to see action today.

"There are certain things that we have to take care of, the rebounding, and our defense on their guards. These will be our focus. If we can rebound and defend well, we'll be ok," said Talk 'N Text coach Norman Black, a 10-time PBA champion mentor.

Aside from the returning players, TNT will have mainstays led by former MVPs Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams, Ranidel de Ocampo, Jayson Castro, Larry Fonacier, Harvey Carey, and Ali Peek.

Ginebra, on the other hand, can count on Kerby Raymundo, Rudy Hatfield, Billy Mamaril, Willy Wilson, Rico Maierhofer, as well as rookies Chris Ellis and Keith Jensen.

Playing in the first match at 4:15 p.m. are Petron and Meralco.


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