Philippines sportsTexters, Aces duel in semis decider: Question of execution

By Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star)


MANILA, Philippines - It will all boil down to execution as Alaska Milk and Talk n Text dispute the other final berth in the PBA Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum tonight in a sudden death that could go either way.

The Aces, who forced a Game 7 with a 94-83 win last Sunday, try to salvage a rare double finals in the season while the Texters decided to stick it out with import Shawn Daniels in their quest for a crack at the championship.



Gametime is at 7 p.m. with league watchers saying the sudden death is anybody’s game.

Coaches Tim Cone and Chot Reyes agree their teams have 50-50 percent chance of winning the contest, which determines the team facing San Miguel Beer in another best-of-seven title duel.

“The two teams have equal chances of winning. Both will come out and try to execute their plans. Basically, that it is,” said Cone.

“Do-or-die games are always 50-50. The team that gets hot and executes better will win the game,” said Reyes.

After thoroughly analyzing things, TnT decided to stick it out with Daniels.

The series will thus continue to be a battle between Diamon Simpson versus Jimmy Alapag.

The Alaska import and the Talk n Text prized point guard have been the main men of their respective teams in the series. Simpson averages 22.2 points and 17.5 rebounds while Alapag norms 15.3 point and 9.0 assists.

Alaska is short-handed without center Sonny Thoss while Talk n Text is crippled minus guard Ryan Reyes.

A major concern for TnT is whether Macmac Cardona and Ranidel de Ocampo can regain their fire in this all-important game. The performances of the two key players have dipped in the post-elim plays.

Still, the Texters vow to go all-out to extend their season, hoping to clinch a seventh final stint in the decade.

But the Aces are also determined to stay standing, looking to make the finals as they did in the Philippine Cup. The Uytengsu franchise is eyeing a 23rd finals appearance overall.

Alaska has a 4-3 win-loss record in Game Sevens as against Talk n Text’s 1-3 mark.

Thoss sat out Game 6 due to a sprained ankle but the Aces played even better with a small lineup, outhustling and outsmarting the Texters.

“We’re able to play a good all-around game. With Sonny out, we played with a quick lineup and that surprised them,” said Cone.

“We had a harder time playing them without Thoss. Tony dela Cruz played so well in taking Sonny’s spot. They’re able to keep pace with us with their small lineup,” said Reyes.
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