Looking for a sweep

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


MANILA—Sister teams Petron Blaze and San Mig Coffee seek for semifinals seat when they clash separate foes Friday in the the 39th Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Both the Blaze Boosters and the Coffee Mixers are aiming to sweep their respective best-of-three quarterfinal series following big wins in the first games last Tuesday.

Petron crushed Barako Bull, 101-88, while San Mig surprised defending champion Talk 'N Text, 90-83, in the other match for a 1-0 lead.

A win by Petron and San Mig Coffee today will give them a slot to semifinals along with Rain or Shine.

Rain or Shine of coach Yeng Guiao, which enjoyed a twice-to-beat advantage, needed only one game to end Globalport's quest, 106-96, on Wednesday. Top seed Ginebra was forced to play Alaska in a do-or-die battle on Saturday after a 97-104 setback also the other day.

June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, Chris Ross and Chris Lutz are expected to lead the Blaze Boosters’ charge. The deadly six combined for 90 points, 30 rebounds, 22 assists and six steals in their victory over the Energy Cola.

In the other quarterfinals match, not even the acquisition of KG Canaleta could help the Tropang Texters. The 6’6” forward Canaleta, a sixth overall pick by Air 21 in 2005, was traded to the Texters just in time for the quarterfinals.

He debuted with eight points and five rebounds in 25 minutes of action but the effort was not enough to save the Texters’ day. They fell behind most of the way after shooting just 35.9 percent in the field compared to 40.5 percent for the Coffee Mixers. Coach Norman Black's wards were also outrebounded (55-44).

“Hopefully we can beat them again on Friday. I wish it was a knockout game. We have to figure out again how to beat Talk ‘N Text one more time. I have veterans and they perked up in Game 1. They know what the playoffs is about. This is the time when you create your reputation, your contracts,” said the league's winningest coach Tim Cone of San Mig.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2014.

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