With the Commissioner’s Cup finals down to a virtual best-of-five between B-MEG and Talk ‘N Text, top coaches think it’s still anybody’s ballgame.
“No team has an advantage. It remains even as the series has indicated,” said Air 21 Express coach Franz Pumaren.
Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, a former B-MEG coach who led the Purefoods franchise to three titles, agreed with the assessment. “Right now, wala pang may advantage. It’s really hard to tell at this stage because it’s really even.”
NU Bulldogs coach Eric Altamirano, who had coaching stints at Purefoods and Mobiline (now Talk ‘N Text), shared the same observation. “It’s even-steven,” he said.
But Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao thinks B-MEG has a bit of an advantage.
“I’m giving B-MEG the slight edge because of the hunger factor. They’re definitely the hungrier team. B-MEG is also a fresher team. The more number of games might have taken its toll on Talk ‘N Text and the team has been in the finals for the fifth straight conference so the motivation factor might not be as high as before,” said Guiao.
“I believe if the series get longer, fatigue might affect Talk ‘N Text’s chances, which is why I’m picking B-Meg.”
Pumaren agreed with Guiao that the Llamados would be favored in a long series.
“Short series will favor Talk ‘N Text. It might not survive the wear and tear once the series goes the distance,” said Pumaren.
But if the finals were to go to a Game Seven, Talk ‘N Text’s experience might play a vital role.
“Sa tingin ko Talk N Text pa rin yan kapag umabot ng Game 7 mainly because of championship experience,” said Altamirano.
Gregorio has been enjoying the tactical battle between Talk ‘N Text’s Chot Reys and B-MEG’s Tim Cone.
“In Game One, Cone was able to get the ball to [Peter June] Simon at the post defended by Jimmy Alapag, and PJ scored eight of the 18 points of B-MEG in the fourth period. Cone was able to create mismatches using Joe Devance as a point forward in Game One.
“But in Game 2, when Cone was again going to PJ at the post, Coach Chot was able to make a quick adjustment, inserting Jared Dillinger, so the advantage was gone.”
“This series has certainly become a chess match between two brilliant coaches.”
» Alaska seen as finals favorite, but crowd, hunger big factors for Ginebra
» Ginebra rolls through Talk ‘N Text to forge finals showdown with Alaska
» Ginebra’s plan: Let Tony Mitchell score, but shut down Talk ‘N Text locals