PBA: SHELL REVS UP EARLY, OVERRUNS TALK N TEXT

MANILA, September 1, 2003 (STAR) By Abac Cordero  - After a good start, Shell coach Perry Ronquillo can only hope for a better ending.

"This win is important for us but itís too early to tell," said the bouncy Shell mentor after his team whipped Talk N Text, 114-101, last night for an auspicious debut in the PBA Reinforced Conference at the half-empty Cuneta Astrodome.

It was the third time this season that the Turbo Chargers won their opening match, only to falter and lose steam later on, finishing no higher than 10th place in the last two conferences.

"Thatís why we have to try to win every game here. In the first conference this year, we also won our first game against Talk N Text but lost our next seven games," he recalled.

Ronquillo, whose last credible finish with Shell was third place in the 2001 Governors Cup, said reaching the semis of this import-spiced conference is the teamís immediate goal.

"Then wherever it takes us, weíll just see. But weíre aiming higher than what people expect from us. Itís the semis dahil masyado namang mababang goal ang quarterfinals," said Ronquillo.

The return of import Sedric Webber, according to Ronquillo, is just one reason why heís looking forward to a better ending this time.

"If you noticed, I pulled him out in the first quarter because he was feeling some pain on his right leg. But it was nothing. The way he played, he really kept the team together. It was a minor strain on his leg and heíll definitely stay," said Ronquillo.

With acting coach Ariel Vanguardia serving a five-game suspension, controversial American Billl Bayno called the shots for Talk N Text. But he isnít expected to stay longer than three games due to a shorter working permit he secured from the labor department.

The moment Bayno leaves the bench, his assistant from the Yakima Suns, a Nigerian named Maz Trakh, will take over and probably meet some strong opposision from the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines.

Ronquillo, a member of the BCAP, said thereís nothing personal between him and Bayno.

"Iím not looking at personalities here," he said. "Thatís not a focal point here and I reserve my right to remain silent on this issue at this time."

Webber, a veteran of the National Development league in the US, saw action for only 32 minutes and logged in 28 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. He had 11 points in the third period where the Turbo Chargers led by by as many as 22 points.

Talk N Text import Damien Cantrell, a white American fresh from a stint in Venezuela, had 34 points and a very difficult time trying to lead his team to victory.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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