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PBA: Texters battle Mixers

Games Today (Smart Araneta)
5:45 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Globalport
8 p.m. – San Mig Coffee vs Talk ‘N Text

Manila, Philippines – The top two teams in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations clash today even as Globalport reaches a point of no return with its three remaining games.

Unbeaten Talk ‘N Text guns for the first twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals as it stakes its 6-0 win-loss record against 2nd-running San Mig Super Coffee (3-1) at 8 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Rain or Shine (2-3), meantime, and Globalport (0-6) tangle in the first game at 5:45 p.m., with the Batang Pier facing an early summer vacation.

The well-rested Tropang Texters are coming off a 94-87 victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (2-4) on March 23, while the Mixers saw their three-game winning streak snapped by Barako Bull, 92-90, two days later.

A seventh victory will provide TNT a decisive edge over the Mixers and the Beermen, the only teams capable of derailing the Texters’ bid for the No. 1 slot in the playoffs. The Texters have beaten SMB, 107-99, on March 14, giving them the inside track in the knockout phase of the second conference.

Should the Mixers prevail, they will come within two games of crowding TNT for the No. 1 spot, the owner of which gets to meet the 8th seed in the playoffs while armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, along with the No. 2 team.

Rain or Shine (2-3) capitalized on an ailing Brian Butch to hand the Meralco Bolts (3-3) a 96-79 defeat on March 26, while Globalport (0-6) faded against San Miguel Beer (5-2), 109-92, on March 24.

The Elasto Painters are kicking up dirt in an effort to recover lost ground and make it to the best-of-
3 mini-series, not fall into the do-or-die bracket.

Globalport, on the other hand, is still at the starting gate and will need no less than a sweep of its three remaining games to hopefully secure a knockout spot for the 8th and last playoff spot.

A seventh loss practically extinguishes all remaining hopes for the Batang Pier.

Butch, meanwhile, has been deactivated by Meralco, paving the way for the entry of former Kansan U standout Darnell Jackson, who has formally joined the Bolts in practice and will suit up against Barangay Ginebra on April 2.

The Kings, by them, should similarly be parading a new import in former LA Laker Josh Powell, who reportedly is arriving tomorrow as replacement for Leon Rodgers.

Powell, 6-foot-9 and weighing 240 lbs, was a member of two Lakers champion teams (2009 and 2010) and also donned jerseys for the LA Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors.

He and 6-foot-5 Andre Emmett, who played for coach Bob Knight’s Texas Tech and was drafted in the second round (35th overall) by the Seattle SuperSonics in 2004, were reportedly both contacted for the Kings’ job, but Powell answered the call first.

Jackson, on the other hand, is finally coming off the wraps after hitting town more than a week ago.

“DJ’s got a strong inside presence. Para siyang si (Richard) Howell (of Talk ‘N Text),” Bolts team manager Butch Antonio told Spin.ph.

The 6-foot-11 Butch was hit by an intestinal virus that left him severely dehydrated after the Rain or Shine game, forcing team officials to make the inevitable decision after long hours of deliberation the import was in the hospital recuperating. (Tito Talao)