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PBA: Air21 vs SMB

Arwind Santos, Aldrech Ramos

by Waylon Galvez

Games Today (Alonte Sports Arena, Binan, Laguna)
2:45 p.m. – Meralco vs Globalport
5:15 p.m. – Air21 vs San Miguel Beer

Control your destiny or someone else will.

Air21 head coach Franz Pumaren doesn’t want to put the fate of his team in the hands of others as the Express deal with San Miguel Beer today in the hopes of boosting its chances for a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals of the PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors’ Cup at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

Coming off a 106-1-2 win over Globalport last Wednesday, the Express and the Beermen renew their bitter rivalry following their memorable quarterfinal duel in the Commissioner’s Cup.

A win will help Air21 gain ground in the race to clinch the playoff bonus in the quarterfinals allotted to the top four teams after the elimination round.

The Express are tied with idle Rain or Shine for third place at 5-3, while Talk ‘N Text and Grand Slam-seeking San Mig Super Coffee share the lead at presstime with identical 5-2 slates.

“As I’ve said, I’m not trying to be a hypocrite. Our goal is to get a twice-to-beat advantage,” said Pumaren. “We have to take care of our own destiny, and a win will surely bolster our bid to achieve that goal.”

For Air21 to achieve a feat rare for a franchise playing only on its third year, it needs to beat San Miguel and hope that Rain or Shine falls to San Mig at the close of the elimination round on Monday.

Against Air21, import Dominique Sutton had 28 points, 20 rebounds and six assists against Globalport, while Asi Taulava proved once again that he is still has a lot left in the tank as he tallied 17 points and nine boards despite a hideous cut above his left eye.

However, the Express’ quest for a twice-to-beat won’t come easy since the Beermen, losers of their last two outings and carry a 4-4 slate, are still in the hunt.

“But facing a formidable team in SMB, we expect things to get tough. We know they’re also fighting for twice-to-beat, anything can still happen as teams are bunch up even those on top,” added Pumaren.

Henry Walker vs Mac Bacarael

Meanwhile, Alaska and Talk ‘n Text downed their respective rivals in Friday’s PBA Governors Cup offering held at the MOA Arena.

The Alaska Aces outplayed Ginebra Kings, 79-66 in the first game while the Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters topped San Mig Coffee, 92-88.

The scores:
First game:
ALASKA 79 – Walker 16, Abueva 14, Espinas 13, Casio 8, Thoss 8, Manuel 8, Baguio 6, Jazul 5, Hontiveros 1, Reyes 0, Belasco 0, Dela Cruz 0.

GINEBRA 66 – Mason 21, Caguioa 10, Slaughter 7, Baracael 6, Aguilar 6, Tenorio 4, Urbiztondo 3, Knuttel 2, Ababou 2, Helterbrand 2, Mamaril 2, Ellis 1, Monfort 0.

Quarterscores: 20-11, 36-25, 55-51, 79-66

Second game:
TALK N’ TEXT 92 – Harris 39, Castro 19, De Ocampo 12, Fonacier 9, Baclao 7, Williams 2, Carey 2, Canaleta 2, Reyes J. 0, Reyes R. 0.

SAN MIG SUPER COFFEE 88 – Devance 30, Blakely 21, Barroca 10, Yap 9, Sangalang 7, Simon 6, Maliksi 3, Pingris 2, Mallari 0, Reavis 0.

Quarterscores: 31-21, 53-45, 68-70, 92-88