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PBA: Texters battle Kia five

Junemar Fajardo vs Calvin Abueva

Games Today (Smart Araneta)
4:15 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Barako Bull
7 p.m. – Talk ‘N Text vs Kia Motors

Manila, Philippines – Rain or Shine and Talk ‘N Text seek to break away from a four-way jam for fifth place when they take on separate opponents today in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Elasto Painters (2-2) face winless Barako Bull (0-3) at 4:15 p.m. followed by the 7 p.m. encounter between the Tropang Texters (2-2) and Kia Motors (1-3). Also holding 2-2 cards behind unbeaten Alaska (4-0) and San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco (3-1) are Globalport and NLEX.

ROS is coming off a 99-76 blowout loss to TNT Nov. 2, while the Energy are looking to break into the win column after dropping their most recent game to San Miguel Beer, 103-89.

Barako Bull occupies the floor above the cellar with a 0-3 card. The Kia Sorento, on the other hand, have lost their last three games after a successful fightback against Blackwater in the inaugurals at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The Energy are due for a big game where everything comes together for the team of interim coach Koy Banal and Rain or Shine would do everything it could to reschedule that breakout win.

Little can be gleaned by way of optimism from the way both teams were blown off the court the last time out.

Despite the presence of their key players, the E-Painters were routed by a team missing star point guard Jimmy Alapag. They clanged 41 of their 66 field goal attempts, including 9 of 25 from beyond the 3-point arc, and were pounded under the boards, 60-30.

Defensively ROS was also atrocious, allowing five TNT players to tally double figures, two of them, including Ranidel de Ocampo who had a game-high 20 points, coming off the bench.

Barako Bull, meanwhile, kept things interesting for three quarters before folding in the final 12 minutes against the Beermen, getting outscored, 33-21. Arwind Santos led SMB with 27 points on 5 of 6 three-point shooting, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, while Marcio Lassiter added 20 with three triples and June Mar Fajardo 18 points with 11 rebounds.

Alapag is expected back against the Kia Sorento, a calculated move on the part of TNT coach Jong Uichico to slowly break in his top playmaker.

That would be bad news however for the Sorento as they struggle to shake off back-to-back 30-point losses with their main man, playing-coach Manny Pacquiao, preoccupied with a coming world title fight in Macau.