Basketball

Air 21 takes on Alaska; Talk ‘N Text, Barako Bull clash

Talk ‘N Text hopes to rebound from a tough loss while Air 21 eyes the franchise’s first back-to-back wins in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

The Tropang Texters battle Barako Bull in the opener at 5:15 p.m. with the defending champions trying to recover from a shocking 89-78 loss to the Express the other day.

Air 21, meanwhile, shoots for its first successive wins in the league as it battles Alaska in the main game at 7:30 p.m.

With the loss of Ginebra to Meralco last Wednesday, Talk ‘N Text kept the top spot with 3-1 win-loss mark, and coach Chot Reyes hopes the team could get back on track as they continue finding the right chemistry with new import Donnell Harvey.

“Last night’s game showed how out of sync we still are with our new import but that does not mean our lack of urgency and effort,” said Reyes on Thursday.

“Tomorrow will not be any difficult but our goal is to outwork Barako Bull even while we try to learn how to play with Donnell.”

Harvey, who replaced the injured Omar Samhan, actually had solid numbers with 21 points and 28 rebounds but struggled early as he shot 8-of-20 from the field.

The locals also struggled for Talk ‘N Text especially Jimmy Alapag who had only seven points on 3-of-13 shooting from the floor.

The Energy of coach Junel Baculi are coming off a 101-91 victory against Powerade to improve their mark to 2-3.

“We have to sustain the gains we achieved last game,” said Baculi. “We have avoid breakdown on defense specially a strong team like Talk ‘N Text and limit the penetration of (Jayson) Castro and Alapag.”

In the main tiff, Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren also hopes his Express have the courage to match the intensity of the Aces of coach Joel Banal especially coming off a huge win over Talk ‘N Text.

“Coming from a tiring game, I hope we can still outwork them and slow down (LA) Tenorio,” said Pumaren. “We are a small team if you compare us to Alaska that’s why a collective effort is needed for us to compete with them.”

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