It’s quite apparent that, by now, the Talk N Text Tropang Texters is currently the PBA’s perennial team to beat. They are the champions of the 2011 Philippine Cup in February and the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup last May, whipping two powerhouse teams in the San Miguel Beermen and the Ginebra Gin Kings.
That being said, it surely came as no surprise when the Tropang Texters once again made their way into the 2011 PBA Governor’s Cup Finals, this time against a relatively unfamiliar but rejuvenated franchise in the Petron Blaze Boosters. The series, as of this writing, currently stands at 2 games won apiece. Game 5 will kick off this Wednesday, August 17.
The story in this conference’s series features the constant exchange of victories from both teams, contrasting last conference’s finals series where the Ginebra Gin Kings’ best efforts only brought them to a save from a potential sweep. The San Miguel Beermen at least tried to put up a fight. The Boosters’ chances on the other hand, are looking mighty healthy this time around.
Let’s size Petron Blaze up a bit. They are of course, the same San Miguel squad that gave TNT a run for their first conference title earlier this year. They are also the same team who only won 2 games and placed 10th place the conference after. So yes, the verdict is they have the potential to either win it all or simply lose it all. Could be the best, but most definitely could play for the worst.
Arwind Santos, who is 5th in the league in scoring (18.4 PPG) and is 1st in rebounds (16.4 RPG), is obviously the Boosters’ flagship player. With Jay Washington helming the bench due to injuries, import Anthony Grundy, Dennis Miranda, and Danny Ildefonso have been picking up on scoring duties in this series.
But they’re not about to lay confident when they’re playing against a team that features the newly-crowned MVP awardee, Jimmy Alapag. This is why Game 4 saw Petron make a comeback from a humiliating loss the game prior – they made up for lost statistics.
“We were able to contain their fastbreak points, turnovers points, lahat ng departments na natalo kami sa last game,” said Boosters coach Ato Agustin. “We played smart, na-control namin ang guards nila, especially Castro and Alapag.” We guess losing by 41 points during Game 3 was all the motivation they ever needed.
Despite of Sunday’s loss, the Tropang Texters are still the favorite heading into Game 5. They’re actually that talented, and they’re formidable champions too. But Petron, those fighting cage men. The team’s always exhibited and played with heart, from the days of Olsen Racela to Ildefonso himself, passed down to this young team.
But can Petron finally put an end to the TNT Dynasty? We’re not about to underestimate the Blaze Boosters, because they have championship written all over them at this point of their stint together. But the opportunity for a grand slam year, courtesy of the Tropang Texters, is just too damn important for any PBA fan to pass up. We’re just as torn as anyone could be.