The Indiana Pacers tied their East finals series after beating the Miami Heat, 97-93, in Game 2.
Air21 Express (1-0) vs Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters (0-1)
When they last met… The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters booted out the Air21 Express, 105-100 in the last Philippine Cup quarterfinals on Ranidel De Ocampo’s dagger of a triple in the waning seconds that overshadowed Mike Cortez’ career-game of 21 points, 18 assists and nine rebounds.
Lockdown defensive ace Ryan Reyes and Larry Fonacier tallied 16 points apiece to lead the Texters’ balanced attack that also drew double-digit outputs from Jason Castro, de Ocampo, Jimmy Alapag and Aaron Aban.
Why this game is important…
For Air21: The Express hope to follow up its morale-boosting win over Ginebra in their season opener as import Michael Dunigan and Mike Cortez had superb showings for Air21 to begin their season on the right foot.
For Talk ‘N Text: A stunning loss to sister-team Meralco in their opener might give trouble for the Express as the Tropnag Texters will try to vent its ire on them. The wards of Norman Black have some bouncing-back to do and a win in Friday’s game might just light up the fire for the Texters.
For Air21: Mark Isip. The former Far Eastern U stalwart must assert his presence for the Express in order for them to accomplish the tall order: beat Talk ‘N Text. You have a prolific import in Michael Dunigan and solid local crew lead by Mike Cortez, KG Canaleta and Bonbon Custodio but Isip’s game will spell wonders.
For Talk ‘N Text: Keith Benson. An import as the x-factor? Yes, you read it right. The TNT locals have proven time and again that it can win multiple championships and they say, why break something working? Benson can’t afford to have another sub-par showing against the dangerous Express. Benson must show everyone that he has what it takes to be the import of the Texters.
And the winner is… Despite its disappointing loss against Meralco and its import’s disappearing act, Talk ‘N Text’s deep and talented line-up will prevail over the rebuilding Express. Talk ‘N Text.
GlobalPort Batang Pier (1-1) vs Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings (0-1)
When they last met… Barangay Ginebra San Miguel toyed with a listless GlobalPort five in the last Philippine Cup’s season opener as the Kings routed the Batang Pier, 110-90, in LA Tenorio’s first game in a BGSM uniform as he scored just two points but had nine rebounds and 10 assists to tow the Gins to the victory.
Why this game is important…
For GlobalPort: After a fiery start, the Batang Pier seeks its second win in the conference and to avenge its monumental collapse where it lost to Barako Bull Energy Cola after squandering a 10-point cushion in a two-minute span that did them.
For Barangay Ginebra San Miguel: The Gin Kings fell to the Air2 Express in their opener that somehow made its legion of fans scratch their heads in disappointment, but a win over GlobalPort will be a good bounce-back and they can barge into the win column, thus avoiding sister-team San Mig Coffee at the cellar.
For GlobalPort: Willie Miller. The former two-time PBA MVP has seemed to have lost his deadly form in the Batang Pier’s first two outings. “The Thriller” must step up and help Gary David, Sol Mercado and Japeth Aguilar in anchoring the Batang Pier's offense.
For Barangay Ginebra San Miguel: LA Tenorio. Who else but LA? The playmaker must deliver the goods for the Gin Kings and as what he said, he vows to bounce from a sordid game against Air21 where he went 0-11 from the field.
And the winner is… If the Tenorio-Caguioa duo clicks on Friday’s game, Ginebra has a good chance pulling off a win over GlobalPort. The Batang Pier is still a team in progress and will wait for some time before they jell as a team since it has new players on the fold. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel