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PBA: Kings, Aces clash

SLAUGHTER and FajardoManila, Philippines – Grand Slam-seeking San Mig Super Coffee and Talk ’N Text renew their rivalry as they collide today and try to move closer to a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal playoffs of the PBA PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The 8 p.m. encounter between the defending champion Mixers and the Tropang Texters comes almost a month after they clashed in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals, with San Mig emerging with a 3-1 victory in the best-of-5 series.

The two are currently in a three-way tie for the lead along with crowd-drawer Barangay Ginebra San Miguel all with 5-3 cards.

San Mig and Talk ’N Text will face off right after Ginebra takes on Alaska at 5:45 p.m.

The Kings are fresh from a 105-98 triumph over San Miguel Beer last Wednesday as rookie Greg Slaughter claimed victory in his first PBA duel against former Cebu rival June Mar Fajardo.

The 6-foot-10 sophomore Fajardo had better numbers with 23 points and 14 rebounds, but he only got support from import Reggie Williams, who had 37 points, and Sol Mercado (14).

On the other hand, the 7-foot Slaughter, who had 19 points and 11 boards, got strong backing from Zach Mason (30 points, 18 rebounds), LA Tenorio (16 points) and Japeth Aguilar (15 points). The Kings also shot 40-of-83 (48.2%) as compared to the Beermen’s 32-of-90 (35.6%) from the field.

Alaska will come to the game on a seven-day rest after it stunned the Tim Cone-mentored San Mig Super Coffee (93-82) last June 6 – two days after losing by 51 points to Rain or Shine (123-72).

The win improved the Aces’ win-loss slate to 3-4 and 2-3 under American rookie mentor Alex Compton, who took over following the resignation of coach Luigi Trillo after four conferences.

Focus, however, is on the game between the Mixers and the Texters.

After the surprising setback to Alaska, San Mig quickly recovered by beating Air21, 113-109, last Monday as former Best Import winner Marqus Blakely collected 36 points and 17 rebounds, Marc Pingris added 14 and 10 boards and PJ Simon scored 17 markers.

As for Talk ’N Text, the team is hoping to regain its winning form after losing to Barako Bull, 88-74, last Wednesday and TNT coach Norman Black understands the importance of this game against San Mig.

“It’s a battle for first place and the twice-to-beat advantage so it will be intense,” Talk ’N Text coach Norman Black said.

“Energy is the name of the game when you play San Mig so we’ll have to surpass their energy level to be able to get a win. They have so many weapons that I’ll need all of my players to be on top of their game for us to get a share of first place.” (Waylon Galvez)