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PBA: Barako five gets acid test

Games Today (Alonte Gym Binan, Laguna)
3 p.m. – Talk ’N Text vs Barako Bull
5:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Purefoods

Are the Barako Bull Energy for real? Talk ‘N Text steps into the plate to answer that question.

With two straight wins after dropping their first five games, the Energy are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the PBA Philippine Cup, leaving in their wake expansion teams Kia Sorento (1-7) and Blackwater Elite (0-8).

A victory over the Tropang Texters at 3 p.m. today at the Alonte gym in Binan, Laguna would rock the standings and force ballclubs in the upper half of the standings to turn their heads and give Barako Bull a second look.

Without burly Dorian Pena in the lineup, the Energy still have the materials to post an upset against 4-3 TNT. But if the 6-7 Pena, who is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury, somehow is found by doctors to be fit enough to slip on a jersey, then the possibility can only get higher.

“I’m almost ready,” Pena told a reporter more than two weeks ago. “I’m just getting back in shape.”

Mick Pennisi knocking down 3s, if not opposing big men, is bad enough for TNT. Pena joining him could be a deadly combination although Pena would be a little rusty and conscious of his injury.

Barako Bull is fresh from posting the biggest upset of the conference, an 85-78 victory over the previously unbeaten Alaska Aces last Wednesday. Playmaker Denok Miranda had 21 points with 4 3-point shots while RR Garcia added 18.

The shocker came on the heels of Barako Bull’s 87-71 rout of Kia Motors last Sunday, which snapped a 5-game losing start and provided the momentum for the Energy’s mind-blowing feat against the Aces.

Meanwhile, the Meralco Bolts, buoyed by their 109-99 conquest of the underachieving Barangay Ginebra Kings two days ago, take on Grand Slam champion Purefoods in the second game at 5:15 p.m.

The Bolts (4-3) are looking to grab a share of fourth place with Barangay Ginebra (5-3), while the Hotshots, at 8th spot with a 3-3 card, hope to extend a winning run to 3 following their 90-82 win over Blackwater last Tuesday.