The incredibly short PBA Commissioner’s Cup is down to four teams. The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and the Barangay Ginebra Kings booked their tickets to the semis by being the top two teams in the elimination round, while the B-Meg Llamados and the Barako Bull Energy needed an extra three games to shake off the Meralco Bolts and the Alaska Aces in the quarter-finals.
The semis will be a best-of-five series with teams playing every other day. Here are our predictions on how the rest of the Commissioner’s Cup will play out.
Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters VS Barako Bull Energy
In their elimination round game, Talk ‘N Text needed an extra five minutes to brush off the pesky Barako Bull. Talk ‘N Text versus Barako Bull is an interesting match-up because it features two teams from different ends of the spectrum. Talk ‘N Text has been a power house team for years and the Tropang Texters were a win away from completing a rare grand slam last season. Barako Bull on the other hand is a team that has always struggled.
The Dynasty versus The Castaways
Talk ‘N Text has a healthy mix of veteran leadership and fresh legs in their squad. They have reigning league MVP Jimmy Alapag alongside some of the best role players in the country. Barako Bull on the other hand is composed of castaways from the SMC teams; players who have seen better years. The Manong Brigade, they are called. A bunch of players who were traded to Barako Bulls by teams who thought they needed to get younger.
The Tropang Texters are out to reassert their dominance. The Barako Bull Energy are out to prove there is still gas left in their tanks.
Few expected this five-game series to be competitive but the Barako bull Energy proved in Game 1 that they won’t take this lying down.
Speed versus Savvy
Can the old legs of the Barako Bull Energy match up with the exhilarating speed of the Talk ‘N Text guards? Can Wynne Arboleda and Wynne Miller contain Jayson Castro? The first game showed us that although the Energy may not be able to control Castro (who exploded for 27 points), Barako Bull still had a chance if the rest of their defense holds.
The Tropang Texters also have athletic wingmen in Japeth Aguilar, Harvey Carey, Jared Dillinger, Ryan Reyes, and Kelly Williams. If these guys are able to force turnovers and play their running game, Barako Bull will find it hard to catch-up. But if the Barako Bull guards manage to slow the game down, then it will be an advantage for the likes of Danny Seigle, Don Allado, Mick Pennisi, and Dorian Peña.
Size versus Energy
The import match-up is also of interest in this series. The Commissioner’s Cup has no height restriction for the imports. This is why Talk ‘N Text hired the services of Donnel Harvey, a 6’8’’ forward. The Barako Bull on the other hand went the other route as they got the returning Gabe Freeman who is a shade over 6’5’’. The two imports will not guard each other. If the bigs of the Barako Bull somehow contain Harvey, then it will be a huge boost for their team as no local can match up one-on-one with Freeman.
Although Barako Bull shocked the world by beating Talk ‘N Text in the first game, we still think that the Tropang Texters will get their acts together and win the series. The high leaping Williams left the game in the second quarter when he suffered a cut on his cheek but that should not prevent him for missing more games.
The schedule of the semis is brutal as teams will play every other day. If they stuck with the Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday schedule, it would have given the Barako Bull ample time to rest their weary legs. But since the games will come in rapid succession, expect the Barako Bull to run out of steam down the end.
The Tropang Texters will win this series in 3-2.
NEXT PAGE: Fan faves Ginebra takes on B-Meg