PBA: PALS OVERRUN REALTORS, GAIN LEAD

MANILA, September 29, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran  - Asi Taulava, saving his best for last, presided over a decisive fourth-quarter assault that keyed Talk n Text’s 89-81 victory over Sta. Lucia Realty last night in the Samsung PBA Reinforced Conference at the Araneta Coliseum.

Outplayed by Sta. Lucia counterpart Marlou Aquino in the first three quarters of play, Taulava stole the thunder in the final period, scoring 12 of his 19 points in that frame as he led a vital 16-6 run that overturned a 70-75 bulge by the Realtors.

The Phone Pals thus gained the solo lead in Group B, relegating the Coca-Cola Tigers to second place on their sixth straight victory following a sorry loss to the Shell Turbochargers in their first game.

The Realtors remained in the lead in Group A as they suffered only their second defeat in six games. They saw their winning skein halted at two even as they welcomed back to the fold ace scorer Kenneth Duremdes.

The 1998 MVP awardee, who has finally recovered from a calf muscle injury that hurt Sta. Lucia’s campaign in the All-Filipino, played 36 minutes and tallied 14 points, three rebounds and one assist.

In another first-round match in the 6-foot-4 and above category of the Ginebra-Purefoods King of the Court one-on-one competition, Purefoods’ Kerby Raymundo pulled off a 12-10 decision in overtime over San Miguel’s Nic Belasco – a replacement to the injured Danny Ildefonso.

"It’s great to be back and I’d like to thank the team for giving me this birthday gift," said coach Ariel Vanguardia who reassumed the head-coaching position at Talk n Text, taking over from Virgil Villavicencio. Vanguardia turns 30 today.

Alaska Milk seized second place in Group A as it smothered FedEx, 95-86, in the second game. The Aces moved up to second despite a poor 2-4 slate. The Express slipped to third at 2-5.

Alaska Milk seized second place in Group A as it smothered FedEx, 95-86, in the second game. The Aces moved up to second despite a poor 2-4 slate. The Express slipped to third at 2-5.

"The pressure was on top of my head before the game because the team was coming off a five-game winning streak. At the back of my head, I was thinking if ain’t broke don’t fix it. But it was management’s decision," said Vanguardia on his return as Talk n Text interim head coach.

Vanguardia later made special mention of Taulava for his fourth-quarter explosion that ripped apart the Realtors.

Damien Cantrell paced the reigning All-Filipino champions with 29 points and 14 rebounds but did most of these in the first three quarters with Taulava struggling for only seven points.

Helping the Phone Pals turn things around in the final quarter was Sta. Lucia import Nate James limping out of the court with eight minutes left to play with a right knee injury. He was never fielded back by coach Alfrancis Chua.

Sta. Lucia actually was still in the thick of things with a one-point lead, 79-78, entering the last four minutes of play. The team scored only a single field goal basket the rest of the way.

Aquino, duremdes, James and Dennis Espino scored all but two of Sta. Lucia’s production in the contest.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2003  by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE